Cardiovascular disease is one of the biggest killers of Americans, causing one in three deaths according to the American Heart Association. One of the causes of cardiovascular disease is the level of LDL or bad cholesterol in the blood, a reason why many people with a history of heart disease and strokes take statins. Now, according to a new study cited by the Cleveland Clinic, statins in combination with a new drug called evolocumab cause LDL cholesterol levels to plunge and reduce the presence of plaque inside the arteries, which causes strokes and heart attacks.
The study involved 968 high-risk patients who were treated either with a statin and evolocumb or a statin and a placebo over 18 months. The former group, as it turned out, had less plaque in their arteries than the latter control group. Indeed, two thirds of the treated group had less plaque at the end of the study than they had at the beginning, in effect reversing their cardiovascular disease.
A larger study is being conducted to confirm the results, with April 2017 the date when the first news will be released.
Evolocumab is a type of drug known as a PCSK9 inhibitor. The drug is also relatively expensive. But if a combination of evolocumab and a statin can be shown to lower bad cholesterol, clean out arteries, and prevent strokes and heart attacks without any undue side effects, it might be worth it from a cost-benefit perspective. The best way to deal with cardiovascular disease is to stop it from happening in the first place.
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