The US Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a drug to treat high cholesterol that works differently than statins. The drug was generally well-tolerated in clinical studies. However label warnings and precautions include hyperurice
mia, with the development of gout in some patients and an increased risk of tendon rupture or injury. Bempedoic acid (Nexletol) is made by Esperion Therapeutics company. The new drug can reduce what doctors call low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (or the bad cholesterol) by 28%. It works by inhibiting cholesterol production. It's still being studied to see if it will lower the risk of stroke and heart attack in patients who can't tolerate statins. The drug can also be used as a combination pill with ezetimibe, another non-statin. That combination reduced cholesterol between 38% to 44%, the company said.
As secondary effects, several were listed: upper respiratory infection, muscle spasms, hyperuricemia, back pain, abdominal pain or discomfort, bronchitis, pain in extremity, anemia and elevated liver enzymes. More than 102 million American adults have cholesterol levels above what are considered healthy and 35 million have levels that are high enough that they're at risk for heart disease.