Can’t take statins? New pill cuts cholesterol, heart attacks

New York: Drugs known as statins are the first-choice treatment for high cholesterol but millions of people who can’t or won’t take those pills because of side effects may have another option.

In a major study, a different kind of cholesterol-lowering drug named Nexletol reduced the risk of heart attacks and some other cardiovascular problems in people who can’t tolerate statins, researchers reported last week.

Doctors already prescribe the drug, known chemically as bempedoic acid, to be used together with a statin to help certain high-risk patients further lower their cholesterol. The new study tested Nexletol without the statin combination — and offers the first evidence that it also reduces the risk of cholesterol-caused health problems.

Statins remain “the cornerstone of cholesterol-lowering therapies,” stressed Dr. Steven Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic, who led the study.

But people who can’t take those proven pills “are very needy patients, they’re extremely difficult to treat,” he said. This option “will have a huge impact on public health.”

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