Cholesterol drug may help reverse heart disease
For the first time, a new drug given along with a cholesterol-lowering statin medicine has proved able to shrink plaque that is clogging arteries, potentially giving a way to undo some of the damage of heart disease.
The difference was very small but doctors hope it will grow with longer treatment, and any reversal or stabilization of disease would be a win for patients and a long-sought goal.
The drug, Amgen Inc.’s Repatha, also drove LDL, or bad cholesterol, down to levels rarely if ever seen in people before. Heart patients are told to aim for below 70, but some study participants got as low as 15.
“There doesn’t appear to be any level at which there is harm” from too little LDL, and the lower patients went, the more their plaque shrank, said one study leader, the Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Steven Nissen.
Results were published Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association.