New Cholesterol Drug Not Effective
It’s a drug that nearly doubles the production of good cholesterol (HDL) and decreases the production of bad cholesterol (LDL). So, naturally, there was great hope among experts that it would be an important tool to fight the number one killer in America, heart disease.
But science can be baffling.
Professionals in the field were shocked by results of a study of 12,000 patients, announced at the American College of Cardiology’s annual meeting: There was no heart health benefit from taking the drug, called evacetrapib. The drug’s maker, Eli Lilly, terminated the study, citing its ineffectiveness.
In the study, people taking the drug saw their LDL levels fall to an average of 55 milligrams per deciliter from 84. Their HDL levels rose to an average of 104 milligram per deciliter from 46.
Great results -- yet 256 participants had heart attacks, compared with 255 patients in the placebo group. 92 patients taking the drug had a stroke, compared with 95 on the placebo. And 434 people taking the drug died from cardiovascular disease -- heart attack or a stroke -- compared with 444 participants who were taking a placebo.
Researchers have hypotheses, but no one is really sure why this logical solution turned out to be so wrong.