Share on PinterestThe medication bempedoic acid may assist in reducing unhealthy cholesterol levels for some. AsiaVision/Getty Images
- The drug, bempedoic acid, demonstrated efficacy in lowering the risk of heart-related events alongside statins and could potentially serve as an alternative to more commonly prescribed medications for cholesterol.
- While these findings are encouraging and bempedoic acid can be beneficial, experts emphasized that statins will remain the mainstay treatment.
- In addition, adopting healthy lifestyle habits can also contribute to cholesterol reduction. These habits include consuming a diet low in red meat and saturated fat, avoiding processed foods high in carbohydrates, and engaging in regular exercise.
To reduce cholesterol levels, one of the most frequently prescribed treatments is statins. However, side effects such as muscle and joint pain have been reported with statin use.
As a result, researchers are now exploring alternatives.
According to research presented at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in Chicago, ENDO 2023, the drug bempedoic acid demonstrated effectiveness in reducing the risk of heart-related events alongside statins. It may also serve as a substitute for commonly used medications.
In the analysis, 13,970 patients who were intolerant to statins were examined. The results showed that bempedoic acid reduced LDL cholesterol levels by an average of 21% and lowered the risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart blood vessel unblocking procedures by 13%.
Compared to statins, the level of risk reduction was similar in patients taking bempedoic acid.
“These results can provide encouragement to many cardiologists and other healthcare providers as we now have a growing body of evidence supporting the cardiovascular event risk reduction offered by certain non-statin cholesterol-lowering medications,” said Dr. Wesley Milks, a cardiologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. “I found it noteworthy that the average reduction in LDL-C was 21%, which was slightly higher than the LDL-C lowering reported in earlier studies that led to the approval of bempedoic acid.”
Habits beneficial for heart health include:
Fiber in the diet lowers cholesterol, as it helps trap and eliminate cholesterol from the gastrointestinal tract.
Other medications may also effectively lower cholesterol.
“Estrogens lower LDL by 10-15%. Ezetimibe alone achieves an additional 15-20% reduction in LDL,” said Lavie. “The oldest medications, bile acid sequestrants and nicotinic acid, as well as fibrates, result in modest LDL reductions, and the injectables (evolocumab, alirocumab, and inclisiran) achieve 45% to 65% LDL reductions in addition to statins, with the first two also demonstrating clinical event reductions (I have served as a consultant for these injectables as well).”
Bempedoic acid demonstrated effectiveness in reducing the risk of heart-related events alongside statins. The study authors reported that this drug could potentially serve as an alternative to commonly prescribed cholesterol medications.
While bempedoic acid can be helpful, experts stated that statins will remain the primary method of treatment for cardiovascular issues.
To lower cholesterol, adopting healthy lifestyle habits is beneficial. These habits include consuming a diet low in red meat and saturated fat, avoiding processed foods high in carbohydrates, and engaging in regular exercise.