FDA approves first non-statin drug to treat high cholesterol in nearly 2 decades



The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a new cholesterol medication that targets roughly 18 million patients not currently benefitting from statins, multiple media outlets reported.

The once-daily pill, bempedoic acid, was developed by Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Esperion Therapeutics Inc. as an alternative for millions of patients who either cannot take or do not respond well to traditional statins, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The drug, which works to lower bad cholesterol, or LDL, ultimately forces the LDL from the patient's bloodstream and is the first oral non-statin approved in nearly two decades, the Journal reported.

LDL, or low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol, reduces blood and oxygen flow by causing fatty deposits to build up in arteries, The Washington Post reported.

Esperion's studies have shown that bempedoic acid, which will be sold under the brand name Nexletol, reduced cholesterol by an average of 18 percent in patients taking the drug in concert with moderate- or high-dose statins, the Post reported.

The biggest benefit, however, appears to be among patients who can tolerate only low-dose statins or none at all because those study participants saw their LDL decrease by 28 percent, the Post reported.

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