The most recent testing of evacetrapib involved almost 400 patients who, between April 2010 and January 2011, were being treated for having either elevated bad cholesterol or low good cholesterol levels in health centers across the United States and Europe.
The patients were divided into several groups. For about three months, some received various dosages of evacetrapib alone. Others received one of several statins, either alone or in combination with evacetrapib. Still others were given sugar pills (placebo pills).
The results: after 12 weeks of treatment, the team observed that patients receiving evacetrapib alone experienced a boost in good cholesterol of between roughly 54 and 129 percent. Among this group, bad cholesterol also dropped, between approximately 14 to 36 percent.
The investigators also found that when given a combination therapy involving both evacetrapib and a statin, patients experienced even greater reductions in bad cholesterol. This tandem approach, however, did not produce better results than evacetrapib alone in terms of raising good cholesterol.
Commenting on the study, Dr. Murray A. Mittleman, director of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit with the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School in Boston, approached the findings with caution.
"This class of medicines is interesting because they can raise good cholesterol, often quite markedly," Mittleman said. "And most studies show that this can prevent heart attacks. And at this point we don't have very many good drugs that can accomplish this."
"But of course, work with an earlier agent showed an increase in adverse events, and the development of that drug had to be stopped prematurely," Mittleman noted. "So while the initial findings with this drug are interesting, a lot of work still remains to find out if it does what we hope it will do, or if in fact it will
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