Researchers find alternative cholesterol-lowering drug for patients who can't tolerate statins

March 11, 2013

Heart patients who can't tolerate the side effects of cholesterol-lowering drugs may have a new option, according to a new study by researchers from the Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City.

Researchers found that pitavastatin, a newer cholesterol-lowering drug, may reduce the risk of , stroke and even death in up to 68 percent of patients with who can't tolerate other cholesterol-lowering medications due to side effects.

Researchers are presenting the results of this study today (Monday, March 10) at the American College of Cardiology's Annual Scientific Session in San Francisco.

The findings are important because up to 15 percent of the nation's can't tolerate other statin medications, currently the most effective cholesterol-lowering agents available.

"Many of the patients who were not able to tolerate other statins developed side effects, such as myalgia or severe muscle aches. However, our study shows that pitavastatin may be a more tolerable statin that patients can take that will be effective in lowering their cholesterol, and may even save their lives," said Brent Muhlestein, MD, at the Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center, and lead researcher for the study.

The Research

The research team identified 40 patients who had tried at least two other statins and tested them to see if they could tolerate pitavastatin, and if it was effective in lowering their LDL or "bad" cholesterol.

All patients received initial baseline testing, including fasting . They were then given 2 mg of pitavastatin (also known as Livalo), per day. Those who could tolerate it were then tested again to see if their LDL cholesterol had been reduced.

Findings

  • 68 percent of the were able to tolerate the side-effects of pitavastatin.
  • Pitavastatin lowered cholesterol by an average of 34 percent.
  • Patients who could best tolerate the drug were males with no history of heart disease or diabetes.
"We're excited about these findings," said Dr. Muhlestein. "If patients are having a hard time taking older statins, they should try this newer option. We believe the side effects of this drug differ from other statins because pitavastatin is water-soluble and metabolizes differently."

The Intermountain study also confirmed that pitavastatin is far more effective than any other non-statin option.

Ezetimibe (Zetia), for example, is a drug that blocks the absorption of cholesterol and is a non-statin treatment option, but it only lowers by 18 to 20 percent. Another option is healthy margarine, but that only lowers it by 5 to 10 percent. Pitavastatin, by contrast, lowered cholesterol by an average of 34 percent, according to the study.

Explore further: Monthly shot lowers cholesterol 66 percent: study

Related Stories

Monthly shot lowers cholesterol 66 percent: study

March 26, 2012
A monthly injection of an experimental drug made by the US biotech firm Amgen reduced patients' cholesterol by up to 66 percent, according to a small study described at a US cardiology conference.

Higher-dose use of certain statins often best for cholesterol issues

October 15, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—A comprehensive new review on how to treat high cholesterol and other blood lipid problems suggests that intensive treatment with high doses of statin drugs is usually the best approach.

New drug significantly lowers bad cholesterol

November 6, 2012
For many people with high cholesterol, statins serve as the first line of treatment. However, some patients are unable to effectively reduce their low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) or "bad cholesterol" ...

New drug may help those who can't take statins

November 5, 2012
(HealthDay)—An experimental drug may help patients who can't tolerate statins lower their cholesterol, a new Australian study suggests.

Antibody injection lowers LDL, adding to effectiveness of statin therapy

March 26, 2012
A novel monoclonal antibody identified in a new study dramatically lowered circulating LDL cholesterol by 40 percent to 72 percent, a development with potential to provide a new option for patients who are resistant to cholesterol-lowering ...

Recommended for you

Some cancer therapies may provide a new way to treat high blood pressure

November 20, 2017
Drugs designed to halt cancer growth may offer a new way to control high blood pressure (hypertension), say Georgetown University Medical Center investigators. The finding could offer a real advance in hypertension treatment ...

Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?

November 17, 2017
The buildup of plaque in the heart's arteries is an unfortunate part of aging. But by studying the genetic makeup of people who maintain clear arteries into old age, researchers led by UNC's Jonathan Schisler, PhD, have identified ...

Raising 'good' cholesterol fails to protect against heart disease

November 16, 2017
Raising so-called 'good' cholesterol by blocking a key protein involved in its metabolism does not protect against heart disease or stroke, according to a large genetic study of 150,000 Chinese adults published in the journal ...

Popular e-cigarette liquid flavorings may change, damage heart muscle cells

November 16, 2017
Chemicals used to make some popular e-cigarette liquid flavorings—including cinnamon, clove, citrus and floral—may cause changes or damage to heart muscle cells, new research indicates.

New model estimates odds of events that trigger sudden cardiac death

November 16, 2017
A new computational model of heart tissue allows researchers to estimate the probability of rare heartbeat irregularities that can cause sudden cardiac death. The model, developed by Mark Walker and colleagues from Johns ...

Possible use for botulinum toxin to treat atrial fibrillation

November 16, 2017
From temporarily softening wrinkles to easing migraines, botulinum toxin has become a versatile medical remedy because of its ability to block nerve signals that can become bothersome or risky.

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.