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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Australia introduces cholesterol-lowering drug

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The Monash University in Australia has introduced a revolutionary new pill to save the lives of patients with high cholesterol following the successful research and trial by Professor Stephen Nicholls, director of the Victorian Heart Institute and Victorian Heart Hospital, based at the university’s Clayton campus.

Hundreds of thousands of Australians with life-threatening high cholesterol are set to benefit from the drug.

More than 300 Australian patients with high cholesterol participated in a four-year clinical trial involving 14,000 people from 32 countries.

Through the trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the new cholesterol-lowering drug, bempedoic acid, demonstrated many benefits. Among them are lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, commonly referred to as “bad cholesterol”, by 20%-25%; reducing cardiovascular complications by 13%; reducing heart attacks by 23%; and cutting coronary revascularisation – a procedure to open blocked arteries by 19%.

Currently, 2.5 million Australians take statins to lower their cholesterol. Prof. Nicholls said about 20% of patients on statins had tolerance issues and some 50% of high-risk patients did not get their cholesterol down to target levels, so they needed other options.

“This new drug provides another option for lowering cholesterol and is particularly important for patients that cannot tolerate statins. That is a real problem in clinical practice which limits our ability to effectively lower cholesterol in many patients,” said Professor Nicholls.

“It has the potential to help between 100,000 and 500,000 people in Australia.’’

Statins decrease the risk of stroke or heart attack because they reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in your blood. That cholesterol can make arteries narrow, making it hard for blood to circulate, creating the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Statins may cause mild side effects, including headache, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, constipation or achy muscles or joints. Statins rarely cause bad side effects, including confusion, memory loss, damage to livers or high blood sugar.

The new bempedoic acid drug, currently called Nexletol, is being developed by the United States-based Esperion Therapeutics and will go to the Therapeutics Goods Administration for approval for use in Australia.

Professor Nicholls said the drug would be available for Australian patients in the next two years.

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