Statins and New Heart Treatments


As part of our regular focus on health topics which have been in the headlines, we are looking at a new potential wonder drug for people who have suffered a heart attack. For a long time statins have been a great way to lower cholesterol by slowing production in the liver. One of the main problems, however, is the risk of muscle pains when interacted with other medicines.


Statins have been used to treat disease for years but people who were taking them were likely to have another heart attack within 5 years. This is believed to be because of unchecked inflammation in the heart. Excitingly, a new breakthrough treatment has been discovered. Patients were injected with a targeted anti-inflammatory drug called Canakinumab. Doctors have found that people who took the drugs had fewer episodes later in life and were less likely to develop cancer.


During the trial, 10,000 patients were kept on statins as well as being given either the real or placebo injections. For patients who received the Canakinumab injections rather than the placebo, the team reported a 15% reduction in the risk of a cardiovascular attack. Also, the need for expensive interventional procedures, such as bypass surgery and inserting stents, was cut by more than 30%. There was no overall difference in death rates between patients on Canakinumab and those given placebo injections, and the drug did not change cholesterol levels.


Dr Paul Ridker, who led the research said of it “This has far-reaching implications. It tells us that by leveraging an entirely new way to treat patients – targeting inflammation – we may be able to significantly improve outcomes for certain very high-risk populations.”


This new research is breaking open a door into the third era of cardiovascular research, this first being healthy eating and stopping smoking, the second being statins and now this which has still got many avenues to discover.


Within the trial doctors found that the risk of lung cancer was reduced by 75%, and while the reasoning is not clear as of yet they are happy that his outcome has happened and plan to research more in the future.


Professor Jeremy Pearson had some closing words “These exciting and long-awaited trial results finally confirm that ongoing inflammation contributes to risk of heart disease, and [lowering it] could help save lives.”


At JL Dental Care we frequently speak about gum disease and inflammation and the risks associated with a higher incidence of having a heart attack.

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