Two other studies being presented at the meeting took a closer look at torcetrapib.
One, from the Cleveland Clinic, found that the increase in HDL cholesterol from torcetrapib did have an effect on plaque progression, as shown by intravascular ultrasound. "The target effect to raise HDL is probably beneficial because plaque didn't grow as much," Bonow said.
The second study found that the increase in blood pressure among patients taking torcetrapib was related to increased aldosterone.
The good news is that, because the negative effects of torcetrapib were "off target," the idea of targeting HDL is still sound.
"The concept is still a good concept, and other drugs will come down the pike," Bonow said.
The American Heart Association has more information on cholesterol.
SOURCES: Robert Bonow, M.D., immediate past president, American Heart Association, Goldberg Distinguished professor, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and chief, division of cardiology, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago; Philip Barter, M.D., Ph.D. The Heart Research Institute, Sydney, Australia; Ake Hjalmarson, M.D., Wallenberg Laboratory for Cardiovascular Research at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Goteberg, Sweden; Nov. 22, 2007, New England Journal of Medicine; Nov. 29, 2007, New England Journal of Medicine; Nov. 5, 2007, presentations, American Heart Association annual meeting, Orlando, Fla.
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