A recent study has revealed that Nexletol, a different type of cholesterol-lowering medication, may be an effective alternative to statins for people who cannot tolerate the latter due to side effects. The study showed that Nexletol, also known as bempedoic acid, could lower the risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular issues in individuals who cannot tolerate statins.
While statins are the first choice of treatment for high cholesterol, a significant number of people are unable to take them due to severe muscle pain, which affects about 10% of people who qualify for the medication. Patients with such concerns have limited options, including expensive cholesterol-lowering injections or other pills like Zetia.
Nexletol works similarly to statins but in a different way that does not cause muscle pain. It lowers cholesterol production in the liver and prevents too much LDL or “bad” cholesterol from clogging the arteries, which can cause heart attacks and strokes.
The five-year study, which followed nearly 14,000 individuals who could not tolerate more than a very low dose of a statin, revealed that Nexletol-treated patients had a 13% lower risk of major cardiac problems than those who received a placebo. Researchers also discovered a 23% reduction in heart attacks and a 19% decrease in procedures to unclog arteries among patients taking Nexletol.
Dr. Steven Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic, who led the study, emphasized that statins remain the “cornerstone of cholesterol-lowering therapies.” However, people who cannot tolerate them “are very needy patients, they’re extremely difficult to treat.” He believes that Nexletol will have a “huge impact on public health.”
The study’s results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology, have been described as “compelling” by Dr. John H. Alexander of Duke University, who was not involved in the study. He believes that the results “will and should” encourage the use of Nexletol by patients unwilling or unable to take statins.
However, Dr. Alexander cautioned that “it is premature… to consider bempedoic acid as an alternative to statins.” Statins are still the top choice for most patients due to “overwhelming evidence of the vascular benefits.”
Nexletol is currently prescribed alongside statins for high-risk patients to further reduce cholesterol levels. This study is the first evidence that Nexletol can reduce the risk of cholesterol-caused health problems when taken alone.
The new option could be life-changing for the millions of people who suffer from side effects of statins and have limited options for lowering their cholesterol levels. This breakthrough could significantly impact public health by providing a more accessible and effective treatment option for those in need.