According to a recent study two new cholesterol-lowering drugs reduce the risk of heart disease by half. The research was conducted by two teams of pharmaceutical experts from the Amgen and Sanofi companies. The paper was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the findings were also discussed at the annual American College of Cardiology meeting that took place in San Diego.
Dr. Jennifer G. Robinson, the lead investigator in the trial of the Sanofi drug expressed her enthusiasm regarding the results:
“To see a reduction in cardiovascular events already is very encouraging that we’re on the right track.”
The principal aim of the study was to analyze the safety of using these drugs and if they are a better therapeutic option when treating cases of increased levels of “bad” cholesterol. The two new drugs were compared to statins (such as Lipitor of Zocor), a medication class already found on the market. Many patients cannot tolerate this type of cholesterol-lowering drugs so the need for a new treatment is great.
Although encouraging results, the team pointed out that this initial clinical trial was conducted on a small number of participants. There is the need for an extensive trial in order to clearly see if these drugs really lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes to such a degree.
Dr. Steven E. Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, who did not take part in the study, considers that the two trials cannot fully confirm the cardiovascular benefit of these two drugs.
Amgen’s clinical trial was conducted on 4,465 participants with various levels of cardiac complications. Two thirds of patients were told to take the experimental drug on top of their usual treatment. Results showed that after one year, the risk of cardiovascular complications (like heart attacks or strokes) for those who were administered the drug dropped by 53 percent.
Sanofi’s study was conducted on 2,341 participants over a period of one and a half years. Results showed the cardiovascular risk dropped by 48 percent for those who took the drug in comparison to those who were given placebos.
Although both therapies show promising results and appropriate usage safety, there are some clues that point to the risk of developing memory problems when taking these drugs.
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