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Dublin: 5 °C Tuesday 12 November, 2019

New drug can lower cholesterol by 57 per cent

A new class of drugs could replace statins, which have 30 million people prescribed to them.

Medical still life
Medical still life
Image: Chursina Viktoriia via Shutterstock

A NEW DRUG could lead to more than 30 million people changing medication.

Statins, such as Lipitor, are among the most widely used drugs in the world but a new class of cholesterol-lowering drugs could lower cholesterol in healthy patients by up to 57 per cent.

A single dose of the small interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA) drug candidate ALN-PCS cut levels of LDL cholesterol, according to research published in The Lancet.

“These phase I results pave the way for RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics as a potential treatment for high cholesterol”, explains trial investigator Kevin Fitzgerald from Alnylam Pharmaceuticals who helped develop the new siRNA.

If successfully developed, this class of drugs could be an alternative for the one in five people who are resistant to statins, or be combined with statins to produce even greater effects for the many others for whom the current first line treatment does not lower cholesterol enough.

The drug works by blocking  a cholesterol receptor and researchers noted no significant changes to liver function.

The researchers say that the drug is shaping up to be “an effective means of lowering LDL cholesterol”.

Elevated cholesterol can narrow blood vessels and cause heart attack and stroke.

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