Frank Pollaro: Cholesterol Drugs Promising, but Lifestyle Changes Still Paramount

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Major advances in medical research show that monthly injections of a new, experimental drug could significantly lower a patient’s cholesterol. The study has won the attention of cardiologists like Frank Pollaro, who says the drug is promising, but hardly a substitute for healthy lifestyle choices.

High cholesterol remains a major health concern for many Americans, so it is hardly surprising that much medical research is focused on devising new ways to keep cholesterol levels down. What is surprising is how effective some of these new treatments might be. The New York Daily News reports that one experimental new drug has shown remarkable results in reducing cholesterol levels. The study shows enough promise to warrant the attention of prominent cardiologists like Frank Pollaro, who says the new drug is something to celebrate—but that it is in no way a substitute for healthy lifestyle decisions.

The experimental drug in question is an injection, meant to be taken on a monthly basis. Manufactured by biotech company Amgen, the drug has shown significant results. In fact, it has been shown to reduce a patient’s cholesterol by up to 66%, though thus far it has only been tested in very small medical studies.

Some have heralded it as a breakthrough, and cardiologist Frank Pollaro affirms that the drug shows promise. However, he cautions that no drug will ever be an adequate substitute to healthy lifestyle choices. “I think it's great that the research community continues its success in giving us more tools to treat high cholesterol levels,” notes Frank Pollaro. “Nevertheless, patients must realize that this is not a pass to sit on the couch and eat unhealthy food.”

The cardiologist continues by acknowledging that despite some reservations, the new treatment could well be a boon to doctors and patients alike. “There is no substitute for exercise and a healthy diet. Having said that, when a patient has LDL levels that are elevated over what the guidelines tell us, of course, we welcome the best, newest, safest and most effective treatments,” concludes Frank Pollaro.

Indeed, early reports of the new drug indicate that those who took it saw significant drops in their LDL cholesterol levels. Patients who took the injection once every two weeks saw an average drop of 63% by the end of eight weeks. Those who took the drug once a month saw a slightly higher average drop, 66%, by the end of the same time period.

The study, just presented for the first time, reported no deaths or adverse events, another fact that contributed to the initial enthusiasm over the treatment. A second phase of testing has begun already, with the hopes of gaining a stronger and deeper understanding of the drug’s possible effects and limitations.

The New York Daily News article confirms that the testing is significant for patients who are either unable to use traditional cholesterol drugs, or for whom lifestyle interventions have proven less than effective. “Finding alternate ways to treat high cholesterol is important for many patients who either cannot tolerate statin therapy or who have difficulty getting their cholesterol counts low enough with diet changes and existing medications,” the article concludes.

ABOUT:

Frank Pollaro is a non-invasive cardiologist who specializes in using the latest technology to effectively treat coronary disease and vascular disorders. A graduate of Georgetown University, Frank Pollaro is an award-winning physician with numerous publications and professional affiliations to his name.

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Michael McGarety
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