Cholesterol-lowering drugs given green light for NHS use

Around 70,000 adults in England will be eligible for the newly approved treatment.

Thousands of patients with high cholesterol are set to benefit from a treatment after health officials said that it could be used in the NHS.

Adults in England who have primary hypercholesterolaemia or mixed dyslipidaemia – also known as high cholesterol – will now be eligible for treatment with two new types of once-daily pills.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has approved bempedoic acid with ezetimibe for NHS use for patients who have high levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), also known as “bad” cholesterol, and are unable to take statins.

It is estimated that some 70,000 patients will be eligible for the treatment.

Current standard treatment for lowering cholesterol levels includes dietary changes and statins.

People may also be treated with ezetimibe and either alirocumab or evolocumab when cholesterol levels are not lowered enough with statins.

The new Nice guidance means bempedoic acid with ezetimibe will be offered as an option for people who are unable to use statins and whose high cholesterol is not well-controlled with ezetimibe alone.

Meindert Boysen, deputy chief executive and director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at Nice, said: “High cholesterol, if left untreated, can lead to a range of serious health conditions.

“Although statins and other treatments are used successfully by a large portion of the population, some people may require other options to control their cholesterol.

“We are pleased to be able to recommend bempedoic acid with ezetimibe as a new treatment option for these individuals.”

Bempedoic acid with ezetimibe are both taken once a day in tablet form.

They can be used as separate tablets (Nilemdo plus ezetimibe) or in a fixed-dose combination (Nustendi).

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