Health Headlines: Statin alternative offering hope to patients

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Published: Jul. 27, 2023 at 8:27 AM CDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (Ivanhoe Newswire) – According to the CDC, about two in every five Americans struggle with high cholesterol. If left untreated, it could lead to heart disease or stroke. Statins are usually the gold standard for treating high cholesterol, but about 15 percent of patients have statin intolerance. Now a team of researchers at the Cleveland Clinic are leading a trial looking into an alternative to statins.

Stroke and heart disease are two leading causes of death in the U.S. Both conditions could be a result from a common American health issue, high cholesterol. Statins play a pivotal role in lowering LDL levels, or “bad cholesterol”, in the body. But about 10 to 15 percent of the population don’t tolerate statins.

Cardiologist and Chief Academic Officer of Cleveland Clinic’s Heart, Vascular, & Thoracic Institute, Dr. Steven Nissen is evaluating a statin alternative in a trial called CLEAR Outcomes.

“Bempedoic acid does lower cholesterol, it’s a bit less effective, but it can be combined with another drug, known as ezetimibe, and the two together can lower the bad cholesterol,” Dr. Nissen explains.

At the end of the trial, researchers found there was a 13 percent reduction of cardiovascular death, heart attack, and stroke in the patients that received the statin alternative.

Dr. Nissen says, “Those people who can’t tolerate statins are good candidates to be treated with bempedoic acid.”

There are a few risks associated with the alternative, including a one percent increase in the risk of gout and an increased risk of gallstones.

Contributors to this news report include Adahlia Thomas, Associate Producer; Cleveland Clinic, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.