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Thyroid Hormone Analogue Improves Cholesterol Lowering

Adding eprotirome to statins reduces LDL as much as 32 percent, versus 7 percent for statins alone

WEDNESDAY, March 10 (HealthDay News) -- The addition of the thyroid hormone analogue eprotirome to conventional statin therapy further reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol substantially, without significant adverse events, according to a study in the March 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Paul W. Ladenson, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues randomized patients with hypercholesterolemia who were already taking simvastatin or atorvastatin to additionally receive eprotirome at one of three daily doses (25, 50 or 100 µg) or placebo. The researchers evaluated changes in LDL cholesterol, serum apolipoprotein B, triglycerides and Lp(a) lipoprotein, and monitored the subjects for adverse events.

After 12 weeks of eprotirome plus statin treatment, the researchers note that LDL cholesterol dropped 22, 28 and 32 percent, respectively, for the 25, 50 and 100 µg doses, compared to 7 percent for placebo. There were similar reductions in apolipoprotein B, triglycerides and Lp(a) lipoprotein. For the eprotirome subjects, there were dose-dependent drops in serum levels of thyroxine of 22 to 34 percent, but no changes in serum levels of thyrotropin and triiodothyronine. The authors also found that there were no changes in heart rate, rhythm or blood pressure, no symptoms indicating thyrotoxicosis or hypothyroidism, no serum markers of bone breakdown, and no reports of sexual dysfunction. The most common adverse event was nasopharyngitis.

"In this 12-week trial, the addition of eprotirome to statin therapy resulted in substantial further reductions in levels of LDL cholesterol, non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein B," the authors write.

The study was supported by Karo Bio; several study authors reported various financial relationships with Karo Bio and other pharmaceutical companies, or holding pharmaceutical company stock or patents related to thyroid hormone analogues.

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