A new study showed that an experimental drug injection might be able to lower the risk of heart attacks by decreasing the cholesterol level to about 75 percent when taken with a statin.
When the new drug called Evolocumab is combined with a statin, there could be a significant impact on reducing bad cholesterol levels which are the biggest risk for a heart disease. The research showed Evolocumab being able to decrease LDL levels in patients who were given statins. Patients from 17 countries were involved in the study which was funded by drug manufacturer Amgen.
Evolocumab blocks a substance that interferes with a liver's ability to eliminate cholesterol from the blood. The drug is a specific antibody which prevents LDL receptors of the body from breaking down. It keeps the LDL receptors on the liver cell surface active so they can continuously take LDL or cholesterol out from the blood. It is a body's way of removing cholesterol from the body.
Evolocumab has to be injected monthly or every two weeks and patients can administer the drug themselves, just like how diabetics can do their insulin alone. Dr. Jennifer Robinson from the University of Iowa said around 20 percent of people taking statins still need assistance to lower the levels of their LDL. If the succeeding Evolocumab trials show that the drug can reduce heart disease risks for people taking statins, more people may soon use it. Robinson also said that Evolocumab is better in lowering LDL cholesterol than a common therapy, Ezetimibe.
"[Ours] is to our knowledge the first study to demonstrate that the addition of Evolocumab results in similar percent reductions in LDL and achieved LDL levels regardless of stable baseline statin type, dose, or intensity, across three commonly prescribed statins and a broad range of doses," the authors wrote.
According to the report, further investigations are still needed to find the long-term clinical safety and outcomes of the drug. For now, Evolocumab is a hopeful development for people taking statins who cannot seem to decrease the level of their LDL, especially patients who cannot take the recommended dosage of statin or have high cholesterol genetically.