Cholesterol-lowering drug looks promising for patients with FH

2 October 2014        

Researcher

Research shows a new drug could help lower cholesterol levels in patients with a potentially deadly inherited heart condition, Familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH).

Two studies, published in The Lancet, looked at the effects of Evolocumab on lowering cholesterol levels in 380 FH patients who were already taking high-dose statins.

FH is caused by a faulty gene which means the liver cannot remove “bad cholesterol” from the blood, putting people at greater risk of having a heart attack at a young age.

There are two forms of the condition – heterozygous FH where a person has inherited the faulty gene from only one parent, and the more severe homozygous FH where the defective gene has been inherited from both parents. 

Findings from the 12-week study showed Evolocumab produced a 60 per cent reduction in bad cholesterol levels in patients with heterozygous FH and a 30 per cent reduction in patients with homozygous FH.

This will be good news for the thousands of people living with this potentially life-threatening condition.

Maureen Talbot
Senior Cardiac Nurse

The British Heart Foundation is funding a £1million genetic testing programme to identify patients with FH.

Maureen Talbot, our Senior Cardiac Nurse, said: “Having FH causes exceptionally high levels of cholesterol in the blood, putting people in grave danger of developing heart and circulatory disease at an early age. That’s why early diagnosis and effective treatment is key to reducing that risk. 

“The results of this trial are promising, and it will be interesting to see if the larger clinical trials planned produce the same results. While statins are effective, this will be good news for the thousands of people living with this potentially life-threatening condition, ensuring better treatment to help protect against a heart attack or stroke.

Find out more about our research into FH.