Research News

Alternatives to statins in intolerant patients do lower cholesterol, study finds

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 05 April 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i1926
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. London

Statins do cause painful muscle cramps in some patients, and alternative drugs can reduce low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels, a two stage randomised clinical trial published online in JAMA has shown.1

Some patients taking statins report muscle pain or weakness when treatment is initiated or dosage increases, as well as relief when the drug is discontinued or dosage reduced. As a result, some at high risk of major cardiovascular events due to high cholesterol levels may be treated with low dose or intermittent statins or, alternatively, the cholesterol absorption inhibitor ezetimibe—but these strategies seldom achieve the cholesterol reductions recommended by current guidelines.

However, the results of a trial funded by Amgen, which markets proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9), showed that evolocumab was more effective than ezetimibe at lowering LDL-C in statin intolerant patients.

The study involved 511 adult …

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