The New Drug That Lowers Cholesterol Without Any Side Effects
Just as statins block one of the basic enzymes in the body that can raise blood cholesterol levels, bempedoic acid blocks another enzyme, thus increasing the effectiveness of the statin itself.
New studies have shown that bempedoic acid is safe and effective when used in combination with statins (such as ezetimibe, which is often used in combination with statins). To reach this conclusion, more than 2,000 people were studied with statins plus bempedoic acid or statins plus placebo for more than a year. The results showed that the treatment group had no more side effects than the placebo group; in addition, people treated with this new combination had significantly lower LDL cholesterol levels than those who received statins alone.
There are other studies that have examined the efficacy of this drug even when used alone without a statin. On the other hand, a second paper that attempted to examine the long-term effects of disulfiram showed promising results. In this case, we monitored more than 500,000 genetic markers and compared the effect of enzymes that blocked the action of bempedoi acid with the effect of enzymes that blocked the action of statins. In this case, bempedoic acid avoided the side effects of the latter, suggesting that it is as safe and effective as statins in the long term.
Statins block an important enzyme in the body, which raises blood cholesterol levels. Bempedoi acid also blocks another enzyme, which would increase the effectiveness of the statin itself.
Currently, statins (the most well-known active ingredients are simvastatin and atorvastatin) are commonly used in primary care to lower cholesterol levels. If these drugs are ineffective, or if high doses are not effective enough, they are combined with other drugs that have similar effects but different mechanisms, such as ezetimibe.
Currently, “bad” cholesterol or LDL cholesterol levels in the blood are associated with the risk of developing another cardiovascular disease, specifically: lowering LDL cholesterol after a heart attack has been shown to improve survival and reduce the risk of another attack. However, the use of statins as “preventive” drugs in healthy populations is still controversial and well-studied.
However, one well-known problem with common statins is that they can cause muscle pain at higher doses. And because some drugs cannot be used in certain conditions, such as kidney disease, new alternatives that avoid these side effects have been available for years.
Now, as a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests, the safety and effectiveness of a new drug that has been in development for several years and has been tested in humans will be demonstrated: bupropion.
In the same way that statins block an important enzyme in the body that raises blood cholesterol levels, bempedoic acid can block another enzyme, thereby enhancing the effects of these same statins.
Should statins be prescribed to lower cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease? Some scientists believe that there is no moderation in the use of such drugs. And among the side effects, the disadvantages outweigh the benefits.
With the publication of the Guide to 4000 Useful, Useless and Dangerous Drugs, a new chapter in the debate surrounding this class of drugs has been opened in France. Professors Bernard Debré and Philippe Even have classified statins as useless drugs. And patients are wondering whether they should continue this treatment.
Patients just don’t know they have high cholesterol. I thought I was fine, so I never got tested.” The patient was taking Crestor, a statin drug. Despite the controversy, many doctors are continuing to prescribe Crestor.
Nicolas Dunchamp, a cardiologist at Georges Pompidou Hospital, believes the benefits of the drugs outweigh the potential drawbacks.
“For patients with coronary heart disease who have had a heart attack or angina, statins not only reduce the risk of heart attack, but also reduce the risk of death, or more precisely, eliminate the possibility of death, and significantly extend the life span of these patients.” Statins are among the most prescribed drugs in the world. Their effectiveness makes up for their side effects, according to the French Health Agency.
Joseph Emmerich, director of the French Health Authority, noted, “The side effects of these drugs have been studied in detail, and there are few drugs in the world that can reduce mortality by 10 percent. Renaud de Langlade runs several companies in the electronics industry. A few years ago, he suffered from high cholesterol and had been taking statins for 10 years. Ten years turned out to be an ordeal of physical pain, work problems and even a family crisis.
“When you’re tired and you come home at night, you don’t feel anything, you don’t say anything, really, and you don’t feel anything … That’s what causes problems… I had no energy in the morning when I went to work, I barely responded when I had clients, but as soon as I stopped the statins, I was ten times better. As soon as I stopped the statins, I felt 10 times better, and I still don’t participate in any sports. I don’t have to worry, I don’t have to stress, and I don’t have to suffer. I can sleep and get back into the rhythm of work.”
Michel de Lorgeril of the French Scientific Research Center has received hundreds of testimonies on his blog from confused patients who quit taking statins and feel much better physically, mentally and sexually.
According to Michel de Lorgeril, a cardiologist at Grenoble University, “Inevitably, people will conclude that these drugs are useless or toxic and should be withdrawn from the market. If we really want to protect ourselves from cardiovascular disease, we need to prescribe something other than cholesterol drugs.”
Not smoking, exercising more, and adopting a Mediterranean diet remain the best recipes for a healthy heart and cholesterol prevention.