New Cholesterol Drug Failed to Save Lives

One study reported at the recent meeting of the American College of Cardiology had disappointing news. A drug with significant effects on cholesterol could not save lives. Cardiologists have shown that lowering LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol is the way to prevent heart attacks, strokes and premature death. It could be that the approach too simplistic?

What is the story about the study?

Eli Lilly sponsored a study involving more than 12,000 patients who were at high risk of cardiovascular complications. About half were randomly assigned to take an experimental drug called evacetrapib while the others were given a placebo. All patients were also on standard medical therapy, which means that many were also taking statins.

How well evacetrapib work?

The new drug was extremely effective in reducing bad cholesterol LDL, which was reduced by 37 percent on average. It was even better to raise good HDL cholesterol, which rose 130 percent. Virtually no drugs to date have been able to produce such dramatic changes in blood lipids.

said, the study was a failure. The trial was ended prematurely because there were no differences in heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular mortality between the two groups. These results have left many cardiologists wondering why a drug that has changed cholesterol so it could not effectively to save lives. It has highlighted the need to look at survival and not merely on cholesterol levels when determining whether or not a drug should be approved and prescribed to potential heart patients.

American College of Cardiology, Chicago April 2, 2016

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