How a simple shot could reduce bad cholesterol

Drug more than halves LDL cholesterol levels in preliminary study

Preliminary research indicates that a new injectable drug may cut "bad" LDL cholesterol levels in healthy individuals by more than 60%.

For the study, Amgen researchers injected either a placebo or AMG145—a laboratory-made protein —into 56 healthy adults with normal cholesterol levels. The protein is designed to disable an agent that prevents the liver from removing LDL cholesterol from the blood, HealthDay reports.

According to the results, the LDL levels of subjects who received doses of AMG145 decreased by up to 64%. Meanwhile, the protein did not appear to affect triglyceride or "good" HDL cholesterol levels. The findings were presented last week at the American Heart Association's (AHA) annual meeting.

    Click here to read a roundup of other studies presented at the AHA meeting.

The new drug one day may provide an option to patients who cannot use statins, which also help control LDL cholesterol levels, the Orlando Sentinel reports. About two-thirds of patients at a high risk for cardiovascular disease are unable to take statins (Mann, HealthDay, 11/14; Jameson, Sentinel, 11/14).

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