Bad cholesterol dropped by new drug

Researchers say an experimental drug has been found to boost the good cholesterol in the body, renewing the hopes of millions of heart patients.

The study conducted primarily to test the safety of the drug, anacetrapib, surprised the researchers with its potential HDL (Good Cholesterol) boosting and LDL (bad cholesterol) fighting capacity. The drug has caused 138 percent increase in the good cholesterol level and 40 percent decrease in the bad cholesterol level.  "We are the most excited we have been in decades," said Dr. Christopher Cannon, Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, "This could really be the next big thing."

The study finding has stirred unimaginable optimism at the American Heart Association conference in Chicago.  "The data look spectacular, beyond what anybody would have expected," said Dr. Robert Eckel, a University of Colorado cardiologist and past president of the heart association. "It's like a rocket to Jupiter versus one to the moon. I can think of many of my patients who could use the drug right now."

"This one looks far more potent, without the serious side effects that led to failure," Dr. W. Douglas Weaver, a cardiologist at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and past president of the American College of Cardiology, said. "If proven effective, this will really change practice in the same way aspirin and statins have."

The 18 month long anacetrapib study has tested around 1,600 heart patients to arrive at this result. But, this drug will not hit the market anytime soon. Merck, the maker of the drug is conducting another study with 30,000 patients to ascertain how it will work on the heart patients. Until the result of the experiment is out nothing conclusive can be said about the drug’s effectiveness in fighting stroke. The study will start only next year and will take at least four years to complete.

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