A Statin Alternative Joins Drugs That Can Reduce Heart Attack Risk

Gina Kolata in The New York Times:

Millions of Americans who are at high risk for heart attacks and whose LDL cholesterol levels are disturbingly high have been told over and over again by their doctors to take a statin. These cheap generic drugs have been shown repeatedly to slash cholesterol levels and prevent heart attacks, strokes and deaths. But many people cannot or will not take the drugs, often reporting that statins make their muscles ache.

Now, a study with 14,000 patients of a drug that lowers LDL levels and was designed to avoid muscle aches was found to modestly reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other complications from heart disease. It was published Saturday in The New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology. The medication joins several statin alternatives that have been shown to reduce cardiac illnesses, and some experts say they doubt the drug is any more likely to be embraced by patients who are wary of statins and, often, other LDL-lowering drugs. The drug, bempedoic acid, is not new; the Food and Drug Administration approved it three years ago because it lowers LDL levels.

More here.