Cardiovascular disease drug improves LDL and HDL cholesterol levels

GPs could be handed a novel preventive treatment for cardiovascular disease after an experimental drug was shown to improve levels of LDL and HDL cholesterol in at-risk patients.

Atherosclerosis: research is focusing on HDL cholesterol (Photograph: SPL)
Atherosclerosis: research is focusing on HDL cholesterol (Photograph: SPL)

Evacetrapib, one of a new class of treatments called cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitors, was shown to more than double levels of HDL cholesterol. Higher levels are thought to have a protective effect against CHD.

Researchers said the findings could lead to larger-scale human trials.

The challenge to prevent cardiovascular disease has led researchers to focus on HDL cholesterol. People with elevated HDL show reduced incidence of CHD, while those with cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity and diabetes have lower levels.

The researchers noted: ‘However, development of drugs that increase HDL cholesterol levels has been challenging and fraught with failures.’

A team led by Stephen Nicholls of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio conducted an RCT to test the effects, safety and tolerability of evacetrapib.

They assigned 398 patients to receive either placebo, various dosages of evacetrapib alone or statin therapy with or without the new drug.

After just 12 weeks, patients on evacetrapib alone saw average reductions in LDL cholesterol of up to 40%, or 1.33mmol/L. In addition, those on the highest dose evacetrapib also saw a rise in HDL cholesterol of up to 132%, or 1.71mmol/L.

By contrast, LDL cholesterol rose by 3% and HDL cholesterol fell by 3% among patients on placebo.

Researchers found that LDL cholesterol fell even further among those on evacetrapib 100mg in combination with statin therapy, although there was no further rise in HDL cholesterol.

They concluded: ‘These preliminary findings suggest that evacetrapib could be administered with statins and may yield potentially clinically important incremental effects on lipoproteins.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Second-phase COVID-19 vaccine rollout maintains prioritisation by age

Second-phase COVID-19 vaccine rollout maintains prioritisation by age

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has published advice on...

PCNs paid £70m for first-wave COVID-19 jab campaign as NHS plots next phase of rollout

PCNs paid £70m for first-wave COVID-19 jab campaign as NHS plots next phase of rollout

Primary care network (PCN) COVID-19 vaccination sites have been paid £70m this month...

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK are playing a leading role in the largest-ever NHS vaccination...

London GP personally calling at-risk patients to boost COVID-19 vaccine uptake

London GP personally calling at-risk patients to boost COVID-19 vaccine uptake

London GP Dr Farzana Hussain is personally telephoning scores of patients who have...

Half of patients with possible cancer symptoms avoided contacting GP in first wave

Half of patients with possible cancer symptoms avoided contacting GP in first wave

Almost half of people who experienced potential cancer symptoms in the first wave...

GP premises need major investment to let PCNs recruit, warns BMA

GP premises need major investment to let PCNs recruit, warns BMA

Primary care networks (PCNs) are struggling to make use of hundreds of millions of...