A new drug for lowering cholesterol is estimated to be available in the market within the next one to two years
Maintaining levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood is major factor for healthy cardiovascular health. Although majorly prescribed class of cholesterol-lowering drugs Statins are relatively effective, they show side effects. Bempedoic acid works by blocking production of a key enzyme the body needs to build cholesterol. However, bempedoic acid targets a very different enzyme to statins. Researchers developed an entirely new cholesterol-lowering drug for broad clinical approval after the latest trial results.
This latest study reports the results of the safety and efficacy of bempedoic acid administered in conjunction with statin therapy for over a year in more than 2,000 subjects. While results were promising, no adverse effects were reported in the treatment group as compared to a placebo. The combination therapy was also found to significantly lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol compared to patients solely on statin treatments.
The study examined long-term effects of bempedoic acid by tracking genetic markers in over half a million people to compare the potential effects of inhibiting the enzyme that bempedoic acid works on (called ATP citrate). Results of the study reported that blocking ATP citrate is as safe and effective as statins over a long period of time. The study also claims bempedoic acid may avoid some of the more negative, muscle-related side effects often associated with statins, due to a different mechanism of action.
The new drug is potentially useful to patients who have tried statins and either found them ineffective or suffered from major side effects. However, it is unclear that how far off bempedoic acid is from being approved and implemented in clinical uses. Esperion, the pharmaceutical company working with the drug, hopes to push for approvals in Europe and the U.S. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in March 2019.