Follow Linda A. Johnson at https://twitter.com/LindaJ—onPharma. The US Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a drug to treat high cholesterol that works differently than statins, according to Esperion Therapeutics, the company that makes the drug. However, they can have side effects and might not be right for everyone. Bempedoic acid is a once-a-day oral medication that will be commercially known as Nexletol. Blumenthal said he could see doctors using the new drug if a statin doesn't lower cholesterol enough or if the statin isn't tolerated. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Serious side effects include tendon rupture. Turn on desktop notifications for breaking stories about interest? Statins also block cholesterol production in the liver, but in a different way, so the drugs together can reduce LDL more. Nexletol works by inhibiting cholesterol production. The Food and Drug Administration on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 approved Esperion Therapeutics Inc.’s Nexletol for people genetically predisposed to have sky-high cholesterol and others who have heart disease and need to further lower their bad cholesterol. Sign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team. Today's approval provides them with a new medicine to go along with a healthy diet," said Tim Mayleben, president and chief executive officer of Esperion in a release. “This is a nice alternative” to statins, but those medicines will still be the first choice, said Dr. Christie Ballantyne, Baylor College of Medicine's cardiology chief. The FDA approved it for use with a healthy diet and the maximum dose of statins a patient tolerates. Studies showed that Nexletol could lower LDL by about 25% when taken alone and by an additional 18% when combined with a statin. Compared to a placebo, the drug reduced LDL cholesterol by an average of 18% in patients who were also on a statin, studies showed. Statins also block cholesterol production in the liver, but in a different way, so the drugs together can reduce LDL more. The American Heart Association explains the different cholesterol medications for lowering high cholesterol including Statins, HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, Selective cholesterol absorption inhibitors, Resins, bile acid sequestrant, bile acid-binding drugs, Lipid-Lowering Therapies. In one study of more than 2,200 patients, there were several more deaths from heart problems in the Nexletol group than among those given placebo pills. The FDA approved this drug based on the fact that it can lower cholesterol, but it's still being studied to see if it will lower the risk of stroke and heart attack in patients who can't tolerate statins. The company has also applied for FDA approval to use the drug as a combination pill with ezetimibe, another non-statin. The drug was generally well-tolerated in clinical studies, the company said, and label warnings and precautions include hyperuricemia, with the development of gout in some patients and an increased risk of tendon rupture or injury. "It's always important to remember," Blumenthal said, "good lifestyle habits are the cornerstone of prevention. ", Why losing weight might protect you from Covid-19, New diet can save lives and the planet, study says, Here's why you can't stop eating pizza, ice cream and chocolate chip cookies, These foods aren't as healthy as you think, Mediterranean diet named the best for 2019, Half of people prescribed statins don't reach cholesterol goals after two years, study says, Reduce cholesterol earlier in life to prevent heart problems later, study says. When arteries narrow, it restricts blood and oxygen from flowing to your heart and causes heart problems or stroke. Drugs.com provides accurate and independent information on more than 24,000 prescription … Statins are prescription drugs used to lower cholesterol. Michael Valant, 71, of League City, Texas, took Nexletol for about 19 months in one study. Patel said that's likely just a random imbalance, not a big concern. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should not take Nexletol because of possible harm to the baby, the FDA said. The daily pill is to be taken in conjunction with a healthy diet and the highest statin dose patients can handle, the FDA said. Other options include Zetia pills, also sold in generic form as ezetimibe for about $13 to $50 a month. (Esperion Inc. via AP). Statins are safe medications, and people with or at risk for heart disease and stroke should take them as directed, according to a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Nexletol, also known as bempedoic acid, should be available in late March, the company said. Far fewer patients use Repatha and Praluent, newer drugs that cost $6,000 or more a year. Learn about alternatives such as new drugs … The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. 24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events. The Food and Drug Administration approved Esperion Therapeutics Inc.’s Nexletol for people genetically predisposed to have sky-high cholesterol and people who have heart disease and need to further lower their bad cholesterol. Patel, who was not involved in the research, estimated 10% to 15% of his patients might be eligible for Nexletol. It works in the liver by blocking an enzyme needed to make LDL. (CNN)The US Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a drug to treat high cholesterol that works differently than statins, according to Esperion Therapeutics, the company that makes the drug. In company-funded studies, common Nexletol side effects included high blood pressure and muscle and joint pain. He consults for Esperion and helped test the drug. Millions of people take cheap, generic statins, but the medicines don’t lower LDL cholesterol enough for many patients and others experience side effects such as muscle pain. Valant, a retired global supply chain manager, had a heart bypass operation more than a decade ago and then took a statin for years, but it wasn’t helping enough. Pa. high court denies another bid by Trump allies to halt election certification, Michigan restaurant leaves franchise over virus restrictions, Pennsylvania high court rejects lawsuit challenging election, Ex-Trump campaign aide sues over Russia probe surveillance, This undated photo provided by Esperion Inc. shows the cholesterol-lowering drug Nexletol made by Esperion Therapeutics Inc. The most common adverse reactions to the drug were upper respiratory infection, muscle spasms, hyperuricemia, back pain, abdominal pain or discomfort, bronchitis, pain in extremity, anemia and elevated liver enzymes.