When statins aren't enough: New trial drug points to better management of coronary heart disease

May 8, 2008

Despite widespread use of cholesterol-lowering drugs, a significant number of cardiac patients continue to suffer heart attacks and stroke. Researchers theorize that high levels of an enzyme found in coronary plaques may be to blame, by making plaques more likely to rupture and block blood flow. The drug darapladib may offer a way to fight that risk, according to new research led by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Researchers at the Penn and several other international sites have found that the drug may be a useful adjunct to treatment with statin drugs. The new findings, published in a recent issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, show that the drug safely and effectively lowers the activity of Lp-PLA2, an enzyme associated with inflammation activity and an increased risk for heart attack and stroke.

The trial results pave the way for an important addition to the drugs doctors use to treat heart disease, says the study’s lead author, Emile R. Mohler, MD, Director of Vascular Medicine and Associate Professor of Medicine at Penn.

“This is an exciting new area of medical treatment for cardiovascular disease," Mohler says. "It is hoped that this drug will stabilize artery plaque and prevent heart attack and stroke."

The drug was tested at three different dosage levels in about 1,000 patients with coronary heart disease already taking a cholesterol-lowering statin drug. Among patients taking 160 mg of darapladib each day during the 12-week study, blood tests revealed a decrease in two important circulating biomarkers, suggesting a possible reduction in systemic inflammatory burden.

While the drug doesn’t necessarily act to shrink the plaques that build inside coronary arteries and choke off blood supply to the heart, Mohler says the research suggests that darapladib may reduce plaque inflammation and therefore lower rates of clot formation and heart attacks among patients with coronary heart disease.

Source: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Explore further: How can oil technology help heart patients?

Related Stories

How can oil technology help heart patients?

February 23, 2018
Restricted blood flow in the coronary arteries can result in a heart attack. A narrowing in the arteries providing oxygen to the heart can therefore be deadly. Today, doctors examine patients using a catheter to determine ...

Female sex not a protective factor against heart disease in type 1 diabetes

February 21, 2018
Constrictions of the coronary blood vessels is a possible consequence of type 1 diabetes, and one that can eventually lead to myocardial infarction or heart failure. Generally speaking, women are afflicted by coronary artery ...

FDA warns heart patients about antibiotic clarithromycin

February 23, 2018
(HealthDay)—The antibiotic clarithromycin (brand name: Biaxin) may increase the long-term risk of heart problems and death in patients with heart disease, according to U.S. health officials.

Why heart disease is often missed in women—the myth of the 'widowmaker'

February 6, 2018
Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for women throughout the world. Approximately seven times more women will die from heart disease than breast cancer. Even in women with breast cancer, dying from heart disease is ...

New marker could help to identify heart attack patients most at risk

February 8, 2018
A new study from the University of Sheffield has shown a new blood test could provide a clue as to why some patients are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease risk after suffering a heart attack.

Breast cancer treatments may increase the risk of heart disease

February 1, 2018
Breast cancer patients may be at an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases including heart failure and may benefit from a treatment approach that weighs the benefits of specific therapies against potential damage to the ...

Recommended for you

Fabric imbued with optical fibers helps fight skin diseases

February 23, 2018
A team of researchers with Texinov Medical Textiles in France has announced that their PHOS-ISTOS system, called the Fluxmedicare, is on track to be made commercially available later this year. The system consists of a piece ...

Low-calorie diet enhances intestinal regeneration after injury

February 22, 2018
Dramatic calorie restriction, diets reduced by 40 percent of a normal calorie total, have long been known to extend health span, the duration of disease-free aging, in animal studies, and even to extend life span in most ...

Artificial intelligence quickly and accurately diagnoses eye diseases and pneumonia

February 22, 2018
Using artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, researchers at Shiley Eye Institute at UC San Diego Health and University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in China, Germany and Texas, ...

Gut microbes protect against sepsis—mouse study

February 22, 2018
Sepsis occurs when the body's response to the spread of bacteria or toxins to the bloodstream damages tissues and organs. The fight against sepsis could get a helping hand from a surprising source: gut bacteria. Researchers ...

Breakthrough could lead to better drugs to tackle diabetes and obesity

February 22, 2018
Breakthrough research at Monash University has shown how different areas of major diabetes and obesity drug targets can be 'activated', guiding future drug development and better treatment of diseases.

Fertility breakthrough: New research could extend egg health with age

February 22, 2018
Women have been told for years that if they don't have children before their mid-30s, they may not be able to. But a new study from Princeton University's Coleen Murphy has identified a drug that extends egg viability in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.