A new cholesterol drug for 'statin intolerant' people
But what is the evidence?
By Maryanne Demasi, PhD and Robert DuBroff, MD (Cardiologist, New Mexico)
For years, researchers have tried to convince patients that statins don’t cause muscle aches and pains. They’d say that people in trials who took statins experienced muscle aches at the same rate as people on placebo, and that if they did experience muscle pain, it was “rare.”
But now, researchers have had a change of heart. Statins do cause muscle aches in about 20% of people, a problem known as ‘statin intolerance.’ Why the change of heart?
Well, there’s a new drug for people with statin intolerance, one that lowers cholesterol like a statin, but without the muscle aches.
The drug is called bempedoic acid. It acts on the same cholesterol biosynthesis pathway as statins and reduces the amount of cholesterol made by the liver.
The drug is being touted as “revolutionary.” Recently, Stephen Nicholls, cardiologist, and co-investigator on a major trial of the drug said:
“This drug provides another option for lowering cholesterol and is particularly important for patients that cannot tolerate statins. That’s a real problem in clinical practice which limits our ability to effectively lower cholesterol in many patients.’’