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Thyroid hormone analogue for treating high cholesterol
Date:3/11/2010

MANHASSET, NY An experimental thyroid drug reduces cholesterol without the troublesome side effects experienced by some people on statins, according to a study published today in The New England Journal of Medicine. An international team of investigators at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, the Karolinska University Hospital and Institute, and The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research tested a substance called Eprotirome in patients with high cholesterol.

Following 189 people with high cholesterol over a three-month period, they observed that it lowered cholesterol levels without the classic thyroid risks to the heart and bone, The study was supported by Karo Bio in Sweden, a company that is developing the drug for its cholesterol-lowering effects.

Over three decades, Irwin Klein, MD, an endocrinologist at the Feinstein Institute, has been at the forefront of researching the connection between thyroid and heart health. It seemed that people with underactive thyroid glands also had high cholesterol levels. These high cholesterol levels were dramatically reduced with thyroid hormone replacement. But the problem in using thyroid hormone for cholesterol lowering is the side effects of an overactive thyroid gland: people can become anxious and have heart palpitations, muscle weakness and bone thinning.

Scientists spent years trying to develop thyroid analogs that lowered lipids without unwanted side effects. American scientists, including Dr. Klein and John D. Baxter, MD, a senior member of The Methodist Hospital Research Institute, have been working with Karo Bio scientists to solve this problem. They landed on one in particular that lowered cholesterol without any of the problems with the traditional thyroid medicines. Phase I studies showed the drug safe.

In the current Phase II study, they reported that it was both safe and effective in lowering cholesterol. What is not known from this study is whether this lowe
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Contact: Jamie Talan
jtalan@nshs.edu
516-562-1232
North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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