Novel Cholesterol Therapy Flops And Company Ends Development

–13 years after ApoA-1 Milano sparked excitement the novel HDL therapy appears to be dead. After 13 years and despite the efforts of 3 separate companies, the novel cholesterol therapy known as ApoA-1 Milano appears to be dead. On Monday afternoon the Medicines Company announced that it had discontinued development of the drug and would…

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Pfizer Ends Development Of Its PCSK9 Inhibitor

–Immune issues and diminishing efficacy doomed the new drug. Pfizer announced on Tuesday that it was discontinuing development of bococizumab, its cholesterol-lowering PCSK9 inhibitor under development. “The totality of clinical information now available for bococizumab, taken together with the evolving treatment and market landscape for lipid-lowering agents, indicates that bococizumab is not likely to provide…

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Universal Child FH Screening Proposed

–Novel strategy would identify both children and adults at high risk for CV events. Doctors in the U.K. are proposing a novel strategy to identify very young children with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). The strategy would also identify and help prevent events in the parents who also have FH. The new approach begins with a heel-stick…

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Calcium Levels and CV Risk: New Study Finds No Link

–But most agree dietary calcium is preferable to supplements A new review concludes that a high level of calcium intake, whether from food or supplements, is not linked to increased cardiovascular risk, as long as the total calcium intake remains below the tolerable upper level of intake (2,000-2,500 mg/day). The systematic review, published in Annals…

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Novel Cholesterol Drugs Move Forward In Clinical Trials

–New information about upcoming cholesterol drugs from the Medicines Company and Esperion Recently the makers of two novel cholesterol-lowering drugs in development provided important updates on their progress. On Tuesday, the Medicines Company announced positive top-line results for a trial of its unusual PCSK9 synthesis inhibitor scheduled to be presented in November. Last week Esperion…

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Caffeine Study Gives Heart Failure Patients Green Light To Drink Coffee

–A small but rigorous study found no arrhythmias caused by caffeine consumption. Many people with heart failure are advised to avoid coffee because of fears that caffeine might provoke an arrhythmia. Now a rare example of a randomized controlled trial in the field offers some assuring evidence that these patients can safely drink coffee. The…

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Calcium Supplements Linked To Increased Cardiovascular Risk

–But the observational study suggested an overall benefit for dietary calcium. A new observational study finds that calcium supplements may increase cardiovascular risk. By contrast, dietary calcium was linked to a protective effect. Many people– in particular, older women– take calcium supplements to prevent or treat osteoporosis, though the supporting evidence for this use is…

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No, $75 Million Won’t Cure Heart Disease Or Reinvent Science

–Silicon Valley hype and hubris come to cardiology. We may be close to peak hype and hubris in cardiology. This week some of the smartest people on the planet said that $75 million can help find new ways to prevent heart disease AND, as if that’s not enough, completely reinvent the way we do science….

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LDL-Lowering Genetic Variants Linked to Diabetes Risk

–What can genetics tell us about diabetes incidence with cholesterol drugs? Editor’s note: The following guest post was contributed by Marilyn Mann, a well-known advocate for patients with familial hypercholesterolemia and a patient advisor to Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, several LDL-lowering genetic…

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Trump’s Risk For A Cardiac Event Is Seven Times Hilary Clinton’s Risk

Editor’s note: The following guest post is reprinted with permission from Dr. Anthony Pearson, a cardiologist who is the medical director of the Echocardiography Laboratory and Anticoagulation Clinic at St. Lukes Hospital, Chesterfield, Missouri. Dr. Pearson writes The Skeptical Cardiologist blog, where this post originally appeared. Donald Trump recently appeared on the Dr. Oz show and handed a letter to the…

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American Heart Association and American Society Of Hypertension Explore Merger

–The two US blood pressure societies want to become ‘a single force multiplier in the fight against hypertension’ The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Society of Hypertension (ASH) are officially exploring a merger. In a message sent to ASH members, ASH president John Bisognano (University of Rochester) said that “for the past several…

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The Lancet Versus BMJ: Dispatch From The Statin Wars

–The editors of the two top UK medical journals are in a bitter fight over statins. The editors of the two top medical journals in the UK are at war over statins. The bitter fight has its origins in the 2014 publication in the BMJ of two articles that were highly critical of statins. Rory…

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SPRINTing to Lower BP Targets? Not So Fast

–Hypertension experts disagree about how to apply SPRINT results in the real world.  Once again blood pressure experts are disagreeing about how to interpret SPRINT and how its results should be applied in the real world. A new study claims that applying the SPRINT results to US patients who meet SPRINT criteria would prevent more…

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How Sweet: Sugar Industry Made Fat the Villain

–Harvard researchers received sugar industry money to write a NEJM review. Newly uncovered documents reveal that 50 years ago the sugar industry gave secret support to prominent Harvard researchers to write an influential series of articles in the New England Journal of Medicine that downplayed the negative effects of sugar. Instead, the articles shifted the blame…

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Statin Trialists Seek To Bury Debate With Evidence

–A Lancet review claims overwhelming evidence in favor of statins for both primary and secondary prevention. Some disagree. A large group of statin researchers argue forcefully that the debate over statins should be ended because the evidence in favor of statins is overwhelming and incontrovertible. But some outsiders say the issue is more nuanced and…

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SPRINT: More Controversy And Confusion About ‘Landmark’ Trial

–Blood pressure experts raise new questions and concerns about the controversial trial. More questions and concerns are being raised about SPRINT, the NIH’s “landmark” blood pressure lowering trial. In sharp contrast to the enormous amount of initial hype, many hypertension experts are now saying that the SPRINT trial is difficult to interpret and can’t be readily…

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Cardiologists: Thumbs Down To SPRINT

[Updated, August 29, August 30] –SPRINT should not be used in guidelines to lower blood pressure targets. Should the SPRINT trial be used by guideline committees to lower systolic blood pressure targets? After listening to a high-powered debate at the European Society of Cardiology meeting in Rome on Sunday, most audience members gave thumbs down…

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Can 50 Million Blood Pressure Prescriptions Each Year Be Wrong?

–For decades physicians may have been prescribing the wrong diuretic. Now an innovative new trial will settle the question. A radically innovative large new VA trial will finally shed light on a decades-old unresolved question that could have important public health implications. According to guidelines thiazide diuretics are the first-line treatment for hypertension. Hydrochlorothiazide accounts…

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Major Shift As Deaths From Cancer Overtake CV Disease In Western Europe

–In 12 high-income countries cancer is now a bigger cause of death than cardiovascular disease. In Europe as in the rest of the world cardiovascular (CV) disease remains the number one cause of death. But in 12 western European countries cancer now kills more people than CV disease. The finding, which likely presages a major…

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The Twitter Debate Over Cholesterol Screening In Kids

–Cardiologists discuss the screening controversy in 140 characters or less. My recent post on the debate over cholesterol screening in children provoked a fascinating discussion on Twitter, including comments from several highly knowledgeable experts and clinicians. The discussion started when James Stein, a preventive cardiologist at the University of Wisconsin), tweeted: Lipid screening in kids….

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Experts Disagree About Cholesterol Screening In Kids

(Updated) –Lack of evidence leads to major disagreement over guidelines. Once again the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has performed an invaluable— and almost certainly thankless— service. In a series of papers published in JAMA and Annals of Internal Medicine the USPSTF states unequivocally that there is no good high quality evidence to evaluate…

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Changes In Eskimo Diet Linked To Increase In Heart Disease

New paper explores the fascinating history of research into the Eskimo diet. The Eskimo diet and its effect on the heart has been a source of confusion and contention for decades. The observation that Eskimos, who traditionally consumed large amounts of saturated fat and small amounts of carbohydrates, had low rates of heart disease appeared…

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FDA Places Roadblock On Approval Path Of Novel Cholesterol Drug

Could this be the end of LDL as a surrogate? A possible shift in policy at the FDA means that a much heralded novel new cholesterol drug won’t reach the US market until 2022 at the earliest. Esperion Therapeutics’ bempedoic acid (formerly known as ETC-1002) had previously been thought to be eligible for approval within…

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Bad News Bears: After Scary Headlines Some Patients Stopped Taking Statins

Study provokes discussion about the responsibilities of medical journals and the general media. A new study and surrounding discussion raises important questions about the role and responsibility of researchers, editors, and journalists when tackling topics with potentially life-affecting consequences. The new study, published in the BMJ, found that many people stopped taking statins in the…

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Time For Cardiologists To Start Prescribing Diabetes Drugs?

There’s an emerging consensus that now may be the time for cardiologists to start thinking seriously about prescribing diabetes drugs. Until now most cardiologists have not considered this to be part of their job description. But now new data from large cardiovascular outcome trials (CVOTs) shows that these drugs may one day become, like statins and…

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