Cholesterol is in every cell in our bodies, since we need the substance to make vitamin D, to digest foods, and to make hormones. The problem is that sometimes we build up "bad" cholesterol, called LDL, in our blood. That can clog the arteries and raise our risk of heart disease and heart attacks.
If your cholesterol is high, your doctor probably has told you the best way to control it is by taking statins, daily pills that are super-effective in getting cholesterol levels to a heart-healthy place. Currently, about one in four Americans ages 40 to 75 takes these drugs.
But statins have side effects, including muscle pain and memory loss. But a cholesterol-lowering drug without the side effects may be on the market soon—an injection that has been shown to dramatically lower LDL levels in mice and monkeys.
The injection targets a protein, PCSK9, that keeps cholesterol circulating in the body. One shot gets rid of the protein, and lets the body flush out LDL cholesterol naturally, for up to three months. And the most exciting thing? Researchers found that the shot lowered LDLs by more than half; statins only lower bad cholesterol by 30 percent.
In March of this year, Repatha, a drug that lowered cholesterol by targeting the PCSK9 inhibitor, showed a "measurable—if modest—benefit in reducing cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and stroke" during clinical trials, reports the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Repatha "reduced LDL cholesterol by about 60 percent in patients already taking statins." The drug was approved by the FDA in 2015, but the company that makes the drug, Amgen, is currently battling a competitor for the patent.
Once this is available to the public, it will mean having to get one shot four times a year versus remembering to take a pill every day for the rest of your life.
via The Telegraph
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