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Alternative medication for high cholesterol when statins are ineffective!

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New daily pills that significantly lowered cholesterol levels in trials may soon be available to patients with especially high levels of bad LDL cholesterol.

MK-0616 has been shown to lower cholesterol by more than 60% – dose dependent.

The drug is a type of treatment with monoclonal antibodies, artificial proteins that attach to targets on the body. And MK-0616 works by deactivating a protein in the liver called proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9).

Normally, the liver processes two-thirds of the LDL and removes it from the bloodstream. But the more a person makes this protein, the more cholesterol they have in their blood – and this is because PCSK9 destroys cholesterol receptors on liver cells, which are responsible for removing cholesterol from the bloodstream.

“Statins are the first line of treatment for high cholesterol,” explains Chris Gill, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Emeritus Consultant Cardiology at NHS Trust Leeds Teaching Hospitals.

“Statins lower cholesterol levels, but not always to the desired level, and some patients may not be able to tolerate the higher doses needed to reach the recommended goal,” he says.

The results of a new study, published earlier this month in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that the new pill reduced adult LDL cholesterol levels by 41.2% at the lowest dose (6mg) and by 60.9% at the highest dose.

There were no reports of serious side effects and a low incidence of minor side effects – usually flu-like symptoms, nausea, back and joint pain.

In addition, there are injectable PCSK9 inhibitor drugs (such as alirocumab and evolocumab) given every few weeks that have been approved by the NHS for use by patients whose cholesterol levels remain too high despite statins.

However, the new PCSK9 inhibitor drug can be taken as daily pills, so it is likely to overcome the disadvantages of injections, including skin reactions at the injection site and the fact that they are expensive.

The developer of MK-0616, MSD Pharmaceuticals, will begin additional clinical trials in patients later this year comparing the drug to the best available treatments, in hopes of gaining approval and launching it in 2026.

Commenting on the study, Professor Gill said: “The trial results for this new drug are very promising, and if the drug proves effective, it will expand the options available to patients to help control cholesterol levels. MK-0616 appears to be very effective. and has a low rate of side effects.

While medications reduce the risk of heart disease, a healthy lifestyle is the cornerstone of treating high cholesterol.

Source: Daily Mail

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