New Cholesterol-Lowering Drug May Reduce Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
A new medication therapy may help drastically lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, according to a new study. Dr. Marc Sabatine and his team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston published the findings from a clinical trial extension in The New England Journal of Medicine.
The 12 phase two and three clinical trials were extended by one year so Dr. Sabatine’s team could further assess the drug evolocumab and its ability to reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This type of “bad” cholesterol is one of the major causes of artery blockage which can lead to heart attacks and stroke.
The researchers followed 4,465 patients for an average of about 11 months following treatment. Each of the patients was part of one of the trials that investigated the use of evolocumab. The patients were randomized to receive an injection of evolocumab every two to four weeks in addition to standard therapy (2,976 participants), or standard therapy alone (1,489 participants). Standard therapy consisted of stain therapy.
The average LDL cholesterol level at the beginning of the study was 120 mg/dL which, according to the researchers, is similar to the national average. Approximately 90.2 percent of the participants who took the evolocumab injections along with statin therapy experienced a significant reduction in LDL levels down to 100 mg/dL (the optimal range) within 12 weeks. Only 26 percent on the statin-only patients saw this level of improvement after 12 weeks.
Along with the reduction in LDL cholesterol levels, the evolocumab and statin group also experienced a 53 percent reduction in cardiovascular episodes such as heart attacks and strokes. The researchers are confident that their findings are indicative of evolocumab’s ability to rapidly reduce the risk of cardiovascular events. Further trials are underway. (Amgen, which manufactures evolocumab, funded the study.)
Disability Benefits for Patients with Cardiovascular Disability
If you or a loved one suffered a cardiovascular episode and can no longer work and earn a substantial income, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. For help with your Social Security disability claim or appeal, contact the Disability Help Group for assistance and support. Call today – 1-(800)-800-3332.