New research boosts hope that a highly anticipated, experimental class of cholesterol drugs can greatly lower the risk for heart attacks, death and other heart-related problems. The U.S. government will decide this summer whether to allow two of these drugs on the market.
People taking one of these drugs had half the risk of dying or suffering a heart problem compared to others who were given usual care typically one of the statin drugs such as Lipitor or Zocor, doctors found. Many people cannot tolerate statins or get enough help from them, so new medicines are badly needed.
The results are "really impressive and very encouraging" for the new drugs, said one independent expert, Dr Judith Hochman of NYU Langone Medical Center.
The studies were published by the New England Journal of Medicine and discussed at an American College of Cardiology conference in San Diego.
They are fresh analyses from older studies designed to look at how much the drugs lower cholesterol, so they can only suggest that the drugs also lower heart problems, not prove that point.