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Many Patients Denied Costly New Cholesterol Drugs

Posted 28 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Sept. 28, 2017 – Expensive new medicines offer hope to patients with uncontrolled "bad" cholesterol, but the high cost keeps many patients from getting them, a new study says. The injectable drugs – approved for use in the United States in 2015 – are known as PCSK9 inhibitors. They include Praluent (alirocumab) and Repatha (evolocumab). But, researchers found, of tens of thousands of patients prescribed the drugs, nearly half were denied insurance coverage. And high copays seemed to prevent many others from filling their prescriptions. "We were surprised by how little clinical factors – like how high your cholesterol was – mattered to whether or not you got approved," said study lead author Dr. Ann Marie Navar. "We hope that this analysis prompts a bigger assessment of how limited patient access is to new therapies," added Navar, an assistant professor of cardiology at ... Read more

Related support groups: High Cholesterol, High Cholesterol - Familial Heterozygous, Hypertriglyceridemia, High Cholesterol - Familial Homozygous, Repatha, Praluent, Alirocumab, Evolocumab, Repatha Pushtronex

New Drug, Canakinumab, May Fight Heart Disease in Whole New Way

Posted 28 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Aug. 28, 2017 – Move over, statins: New research finds that a medication aimed at dampening the body's inflammatory response may be a new tool to curb heart disease. The findings were presented Sunday at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in Barcelona, Spain, and published in two major medical journals, The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine. The trial focused on a new drug called canakinumab, which lowered by 15 percent the overall rate of heart events such as heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death in people who'd already had a heart attack. The people in the study also had high levels of a compound called C-reactive protein in their blood – a marker that is indicative of a heightened inflammatory response. For years, heart researchers have wondered if a drug that lowered inflammation might help curb heart disease. Cardiologists had mixed ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Disease, High Cholesterol, Heart Attack, Lipitor, Simvastatin, Crestor, Atorvastatin, Pravastatin, Zocor, Lovastatin, Myocardial Infarction, Rosuvastatin, Hypertriglyceridemia, Pravachol, Livalo, Red Yeast Rice, Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction, Thromboembolic Stroke Prophylaxis, Lescol

Less Than Half of U.S. Stroke Patients Get Rx for Statins

Posted 3 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 2, 2017 – Fewer than half of U.S. stroke survivors are prescribed cholesterol-lowering statins, a new study finds. Statins are recommended for patients who have had an ischemic stroke or mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack) to reduce their risk for a repeat stroke or other cardiovascular events, according to the American Heart Association. Ischemic strokes, the most common kind, are caused by blocked blood flow to the brain. But a 10-year analysis of data from 323 ischemic stroke survivors found only 49 percent were prescribed statins when they were discharged from the hospital. The findings were published Aug. 2 in the Journal of the American Heart Association. The research also found that prescribing statins varied by patients' geographic location, gender, age and race. In particular, the researchers looked at the so-called Stroke Belt – the southeastern part of ... Read more

Related support groups: Ischemic Stroke, High Cholesterol, Lipitor, Simvastatin, Crestor, Atorvastatin, Pravastatin, Transient Ischemic Attack, Zocor, Lovastatin, Rosuvastatin, Hypertriglyceridemia, Pravachol, Livalo, Red Yeast Rice, Ischemic Stroke - Prophylaxis, Lescol, Hyperlipoproteinemia, Mevacor, Lescol XL

Is the 'Anti-Statin' Trend Threatening Lives?

Posted 25 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, July 24, 2017 – A wave of anti-science skepticism may put people with high cholesterol at risk if they're convinced to quit life-saving statin medications, heart experts warn. An "internet-driven cult" is attacking the safety and effectiveness of cholesterol-lowering statins, despite mounds of clinical trial data showing the drugs work and produce minimal side effects, said Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. "Unfortunately, we're in an era now where, with the internet, people with fringe views like this can gain the upper hand," Nissen said. "They've been very aggressive promoting to the public the idea that these drugs that are responsible for saving millions of lives are somehow bad for you." Most side effects associated with statins are minor and can be addressed by adjusting the dose or switching to another type of statin, Nissen ... Read more

Related support groups: High Cholesterol, Lipitor, Simvastatin, Crestor, Atorvastatin, Pravastatin, Zocor, Lovastatin, Rosuvastatin, High Cholesterol - Familial Heterozygous, Hypertriglyceridemia, Pravachol, Livalo, Red Yeast Rice, High Cholesterol - Familial Homozygous, Hyperlipoproteinemia Type IIa (Elevated LDL), Lescol, Hyperlipoproteinemia, Mevacor, Hyperlipoproteinemia Type IIb (Elevated LDL + VLDL)

New Cholesterol Fighting Meds Target Key Gene

Posted 25 May 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, May 25, 2017 – New gene-based therapies appear to significantly decrease cholesterol levels in people, and could even cut down on arterial plaque, according to results from two early drug trials. Both treatments improve the body's ability to break down cholesterol by targeting a specific gene that inhibits that function, researchers reported. The angiopoietin-like 3 (ANGPTL3) gene normally restrains proteins involved in the breakdown of cholesterol, said Dr. Frederick Dewey, lead researcher of one of the trials. He is senior director and head of translational genetics at the Regeneron Genetics Center in Tarrytown, N.Y. Two separate research groups say they've successfully reduced cholesterol in humans by using different methods to block ANGPTL3: Evinacumab – an antibody-based therapy developed by Dewey and his team – reduced levels of triglycerides up to 76 percent and ... Read more

Related support groups: High Cholesterol, Lipitor, Simvastatin, Crestor, Atorvastatin, Pravastatin, Zocor, Lovastatin, Rosuvastatin, Hypertriglyceridemia, Pravachol, Livalo, Red Yeast Rice, Lescol, Hyperlipoproteinemia, Mevacor, Lescol XL, Fluvastatin, Altoprev, Pitavastatin

Many Heart Attack Patients Fail to Stick With Statins

Posted 19 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, April 19, 2017 – High doses of powerful statin drugs have been shown to avert future heart problems, including heart attack and stroke. Yet many heart attack patients stop taking these medicines as recommended, a new study reveals. Researchers examined data for heart attack patients who had a prescription for a "high-intensity" statin filled within 30 days of being discharged from the hospital. Two years later, only 42 percent were taking these medicines regularly, the study found. Thirteen percent switched to a low- or moderate-intensity statin, while 19 percent weren't taking a statin regularly. Close to 1 in 5 stopped taking any statin altogether, the researchers said. The lack of adherence to recommended high-intensity statin therapy is short-sighted, suggested study lead author Dr. Robert Rosenson. "The message is that the benefits of statins continue to accrue over ... Read more

Related support groups: Ischemic Stroke, High Cholesterol, Lipitor, Simvastatin, Crestor, Atorvastatin, Pravastatin, Transient Ischemic Attack, Zocor, Lovastatin, Rosuvastatin, High Cholesterol - Familial Heterozygous, Hypertriglyceridemia, Pravachol, Livalo, Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Red Yeast Rice, Ischemic Stroke - Prophylaxis, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction, Thromboembolic Stroke Prophylaxis

Conflicting Statin Guidelines Leave Millions in 'Gray Zone'

Posted 18 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, April 18, 2017 – Conflicting guidelines on statin use could leave about 9 million Americans unsure about treatment, a new study suggests. Researchers estimate that if all doctors followed the latest guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) for the cholesterol-lowering drugs, the number of Americans aged 40 to 75 on statin medications would rise by 16 percent. In absolute numbers, that would mean another 17 million statin users. If that sounds like a big jump, consider what would happen if all doctors followed the advice of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association: Statin use would climb by 24 percent – for an additional 26 million Americans on the drugs, the study authors estimated. The difference between the two sets of guidelines leaves 9 million Americans in a statin "gray zone." So, which guidelines are "right"? That's not ... Read more

Related support groups: High Cholesterol, Lipitor, Simvastatin, Crestor, Atorvastatin, Pravastatin, Zocor, Lovastatin, Rosuvastatin, Vytorin, High Cholesterol - Familial Heterozygous, Hypertriglyceridemia, Pravachol, Livalo, Red Yeast Rice, High Cholesterol - Familial Homozygous, Caduet, Simcor, Lescol, Hyperlipoproteinemia

A Healthy Middle-Aged Heart May Protect Your Brain Later

Posted 11 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, April 11, 2017 – Healthy aging of the brain relies on the health of your heart and blood vessels when you're younger, a new study reports. People with risk factors for heart disease and stroke in middle age are more likely to have elevated levels of amyloid, a sticky protein known to clump together and form plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease, the researchers said. MRI scans revealed larger deposits of amyloid in the brains of seniors who smoked, had high blood pressure, were obese, diabetic or had elevated cholesterol levels when they were middle-aged, said lead researcher Dr. Rebecca Gottesman. She's an assistant professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. All of these risk factors can affect the health of a person's blood vessels, otherwise known as vascular health, leading to hardening of the arteries and ... Read more

Related support groups: Obesity, Heart Disease, High Cholesterol, Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, Hypertriglyceridemia, Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), Diabetes Mellitus, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Arteriosclerotic Dementia, Ischemic Heart Disease, Head Imaging

Many Americans Don't Know How to Handle High Cholesterol

Posted 11 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, April 11, 2017 – Americans with high cholesterol are well aware of its heart dangers, but many lack the confidence or knowledge to keep it under control, a new survey shows. High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, causing about 2.6 million deaths in the United States each year, the researchers said. The survey included nearly 800 people nationwide with either a history of heart disease or at least one major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes. Overall, 47 percent of the respondents had not had their cholesterol checked in the past year. While those with high cholesterol had higher rates of recent testing, 21 percent of them had not had their cholesterol checked in the past year. Eighty-two percent of the respondents knew there was a link between cholesterol and risk for heart disease and ... Read more

Related support groups: High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Type 2, Hypertension, Heart Disease, Ischemic Stroke, High Cholesterol, Angina, Transient Ischemic Attack, Hypertriglyceridemia, Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), Ischemic Stroke - Prophylaxis, Ischemic Heart Disease, Hypertensive Heart Disease

Guidelines May Miss Need for Statins in Many U.S. Blacks

Posted 19 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

SATURDAY, March 18, 2017 – U.S. medical organizations have conflicting guidelines on the use of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs in blacks, a new study finds. Researchers say that about one in four black Americans who are recommended to take a statin under guidelines from the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association would no longer qualify for such therapy under new guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). The USPSTF is an influential government-appointed group whose decisions often influence health care, including insurance coverage. The new study was led by Dr. Venkatesh Murthy of the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. His team noted that while many studies have used artery scans to assess the need for statins by white patients, no such studies have focused on black patients. However, compared with whites, black Americans are at higher ... Read more

Related support groups: High Cholesterol, Lipitor, Simvastatin, Crestor, Atorvastatin, Pravastatin, Zocor, Lovastatin, Rosuvastatin, Vytorin, Hypertriglyceridemia, Pravachol, Livalo, Red Yeast Rice, Simcor, Lescol, Hyperlipoproteinemia, Mevacor, Lescol XL, Pitavastatin

New Cholesterol Drugs May Beat Statins, But Price Tag Is High

Posted 17 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, March 17, 2017 – Two different injectable drugs can lower cholesterol levels even further than statins do, potentially warding off future heart attacks or strokes, new research suggests. However, some heart experts question whether the pricey medications, one of which costs roughly $14,000 a year to take, perform well enough to make them worth the extra money. In fact, some cardiologists said the drugs should be reserved only for patients with the highest heart risks. The drugs, evolocumab (Repatha) and inclisiran, both work by targeting PCSK9, an enzyme that regulates the liver's ability to remove "bad" LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream. By blocking the enzyme, the medications spur the body to screen out more cholesterol. Clinical trial results showed that evolocumab was linked to a 15 percent reduction in the risk of major heart events in patients who are already taking ... Read more

Related support groups: High Cholesterol, Lipitor, Simvastatin, Crestor, Atorvastatin, Pravastatin, Zocor, Lovastatin, Rosuvastatin, Hypertriglyceridemia, Pravachol, Livalo, Red Yeast Rice, Repatha, Praluent, Lescol, Hyperlipoproteinemia, Mevacor, Lescol XL, Alirocumab

Too Much Screen Time May Raise Kids' Diabetes Risk

Posted 14 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, March 14, 2017 – Kids who get too much screen time may be more likely to have risk factors that increase their chances of type 2 diabetes, new research says. Watching television, playing video games or sitting in front of a computer or other device for more than three hours each day was linked to more body fat and insulin resistance. Those factors mean the body is less able to keep blood sugar levels under control, the British researchers said. They said limiting children's screen time could be necessary to prevent health issues later on. "Our findings suggest that reducing screen time may be beneficial in reducing type 2 diabetes risk factors, in both boys and girls and in different ethnic groups from an early age," wrote the study authors, led by Claire Nightingale, from St. George's University of London. "This is particularly relevant, given rising levels of type 2 ... Read more

Related support groups: Diabetes, Type 2, High Cholesterol, Insulin Resistance, Pre-Diabetes, Hypertriglyceridemia, Diabetes Mellitus, Hyperlipoproteinemia, Abnormal Glucose Tolerance, Intravenous Insulin Drip

Health Tip: Help Kids Maintain Healthy Cholesterol

Posted 13 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

-- Most people don't worry about high cholesterol until they become adults, but the truth is that cholesterol can be a problem in childhood. Here's what the American Academy of Family Physicians suggests: Encourage your child to eat at least five daily servings of fruit and vegetables. Build meals and snacks around lean proteins, whole grains and veggies. Limit trans and saturated fats, found in animal and dairy products, fried foods and processed foods. Avoid fast food. If you do eat it, opt for healthier menu choices. Limit screen time (TV and computers) to no more than two hours per day. Encourage your child to get at least one hour of physical activity daily. Schedule fun family outings, such as a hike or bike ride. Read more

Related support groups: Obesity, High Cholesterol, Hypertriglyceridemia

1 in 7 Obese People Has Normal Blood Pressure, Cholesterol

Posted 9 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, March 9, 2017 – Can people really be healthy and obese? In one of the largest studies to date, researchers quantified the number of U.S. adults who are overweight or obese but don't have typical risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. Of 1.3 million overweight and obese people studied, 14 percent had normal blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure readings, the study found. Doctors use these "cardiometabolic" measures to help identify people at greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke or developing type 2 diabetes. But calling these people "healthy obese" is a misnomer, said lead author Gregory Nichols. "Just because they don't currently have risk factors doesn't mean they're not going to," said Nichols, a senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore. The study suggests that might be true: Less than 2.8 percent of ... Read more

Related support groups: High Blood Pressure, Obesity, Hypertension, High Cholesterol, Insulin Resistance, Pre-Diabetes, Hypertriglyceridemia, Diabetes Mellitus, Hyperlipoproteinemia, Abnormal Glucose Tolerance, Hypertensive Heart Disease

Cholesterol's Impact on Heart Attack Risk May Change With Age

Posted 8 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, March 8, 2017 – Cholesterol's impact on heart attack may differ by age, new research suggests. The study found that younger heart attack patients are much more likely to have significantly low levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol, rather than high levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol. The findings might help doctors pinpoint which of their younger patients are in need of cholesterol-lowering therapies, the researchers said. "We . . . want to look at prescribing patterns for statins in younger patients who are at increased risk for heart disease," said study lead author Bradley Collins, a fourth-year student at Harvard Medical School. "Ultimately, we would like to develop new tools for calculating heart attack risk that are more applicable to younger people," Collins said in a news release from the American College of Cardiology (ACC). Most people who get their cholesterol checked ... Read more

Related support groups: Obesity, Weight Loss, High Cholesterol, Heart Attack, Myocardial Infarction, Hypertriglyceridemia, Hyperlipoproteinemia, Myocardial Infarction - Prophylaxis

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