New Class of Medications for LDL Reduction
ScienceDaily (Mar. 11, 2010) — People whose “bad” cholesterol and risk of future heart disease stay too high despite cholesterol-lowering statin therapy can safely lower it by adding a drug that mimics the action of thyroid hormone. In a report published in the Mar. 11, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Johns Hopkins and Swedish researchers say an experimental drug called eprotirome lowered cholesterol up to 32 percent in those already on statins, an effect equal to that expected from doubling the statin drug doses, without harmful side effects.
The researchers caution that the results don’t suggest that eprotirome will or should replace statins, which are the current gold standard for treating high LDL cholesterol. However, the results of their small trial on 168 patients do suggest that eprotirome may eventually be a promising addition to statin therapy, a substitute for statins in people who can’t tolerate their side effects, or a novel treatment for mixed dyslipidemia, a condition in which people have high levels of lipids other than cholesterol such as triglycerides or apolipoprotein B (apo B).