(RxWiki News) For some people, lifestyle changes are enough to lower cholesterol levels. But for those with a genetic condition that raises cholesterol, the solution isn't so simple. A new medication may help these patients.
The medication works by enabling the liver to clear out cholesterol.
The two trials tested the evolocumab on people with familial hypercholesterolemia, or FH.
FH is a genetic condition that causes high cholesterol and increases the risk of heart disease. Evolocumab belongs to a new class of cholesterol medications.
People with FH have higher cholesterol because their liver has trouble removing LDL, the "bad cholesterol" that causes build-up in the arteries.
The first trial was led by Frederick Raal, PhD, of the Carbohydrate and Lipid Metabolism Research Unit in University of Witwatersrand.
Researchers recruited 331 patients with heterozygous FH, the type of FH that is most common and affects about one in 250 people worldwide.
The patients already were taking statins to lower their cholesterol.
The patients received either evolocumab or a placebo (fake medicine) for 12 weeks.
After 12 weeks, the patients receiving evolocumab experienced a 60 percent reduction in LDL cholesterol levels.
The authors of the study concluded, "Evolocumab was well tolerated and offers the potential to achieve large reductions in LDL cholesterol" among people with FH.
The second trial was led by Evan Stein, MD, of the Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Research Center.
For this trial, the researchers recruited 49 patients with the rarer, more dangerous form of FH, homozygous FH. The patients were all taking statins.
Again, the patients either received evolocumab or a placebo for 12 weeks.
Compared to the placebo group, patients in the group receiving medicine reduced their cholesterol by 30.9 percent.
In both studies, the rate of adverse events was similar in both placebo and medicine groups.
The studies were published in The Lancet on October 1.
Both studies were funded by Amgen Inc., the pharmaceutical company that manufactures evolocumab. Amgen helped design both studies and was responsible for data collection and analysis.
Some of the authors from both studies reported financial ties to Amgen and other pharmaceutical companies.