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April 2021

Oral lipid-lowering drug 'first in decade'

A first-in-class oral treatment to lower cholesterol has been approved by NICE for the treatment of primary hypercholesterolaemia or mixed dyslipidaemia in patients for whom statins are contraindicated or not tolerated.

Bempedoic acid (Nilembo®) and bempedoic acid/ezetimide (Nustendi®) can be used alone as an adjunct to diet to lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), or in combination with other treatments to lower LDL-C further.

‘Until now, patients with hypercholesterolaemia who cannot tolerate statins have had limited treatment options to effectively reduce their LDL-C, which is a leading modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease,’ commented Professor Kausik Ray, Professor of Public Health, Imperial College London. ‘[This] is fantastic news for patients as it marks the first new oral treatment option for high cholesterol to be made available in over a decade. Treatments such as these are essential in tackling cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the UK.

‘When it comes to heart health and cholesterol, there is no such thing as “too low LDL-C”.’

Up to 100,000 patients are expected to be eligible for the new treatments.

According to Heart UK, high LDL-C levels account for one in four heart and circulatory disease deaths in the UK.

Practice Nurse 2021;51(3):7