Feb 22, 2020 - Health

FDA approves new cholesterol prescription

FDA agency logo on a phone screen

Photo: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a non-statin oral medication to combat high cholesterol, according to a press release from manufacturer Eserion Therapeutics.

Why it matters: Heart disease is the leading killer in the U.S. and globally. The drug, bempedoic acid, is the first of its kind to receive the FDA's stamp of approval in nearly two decades.

  • The manufacturer said the drug costs about $10 a day — making it less expensive than inhibitors, but more costly than statins, the Washington Post writes.

How it works: The pill is taken once a day, and will mainly be used as a supplement for people who take a large dose of statin medications, but still have high cholesterol.

  • Statins are the primary prescription of choice when a patient is first diagnosed with high cholesterol, but can lead to muscle pain and cramps.
  • The new FDA-approved medicine targets an enzyme in the liver rather than the muscles, so it is not expected to cause muscle aches.

Go deeper: America's heart disease epidemic

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