Life-changing new drug for patients with high cholesterol
Australians could soon have access to a potentially life-changing pill proven to lower cholesterol and reduce heart attacks.
Doctors say the new drug won't have the side effects current treatments do, with trials showing promising results.
Patients like Sue Duke, 63, know how devastating high cholesterol can be.
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"I'm one of four siblings who lost our mum and dad to heart disease," she said.
"I got the high cholesterol and blood pressure issues."
The grandmother was taking a treatment called statins for 20 years. They lowered her cholesterol but painful side effects forced her to stop.
"I had weakness as well; I had to tell my legs to put one foot in front of the other," she said
She's excited about a new bempedoic acid medication called Nexletol.
The director of the Victorian Heart Hospital says it's shown promising results among those with intolerance to statins.
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"It targets cholesterol production in the liver, so you get cholesterol lowering but not the aches and pains you see with statins," VHH director Professor Stephen Nichols said.
In a trial of 14,000 people it was found to reduce bad cholesterol by 20 per cent.
It also reduced cardiovascular complications by 13 per cent, reduced heart attacks by 23 per cent and saw a 19 percent reduction in need for stents and bypass.
The drug is being used in the US and in Europe.
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It'll now go to the TGA for approval in Australia, with hopes it'll be available here within two years.
"It gives me a lot of hope and I'm sure it will for other people as well," Duke said.