Feb 22, 2020 - Health

FDA approves new cholesterol prescription

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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Possible coronavirus drug causes poisonings in Nigeria

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Nigeria is reporting two poisonings from the drug chloroquine, a drug that's been touted as a potential but as-yet unproven treatment for coronavirus, Bloomberg reports.

Reality check: Health officials are warning against self-medicating with the drug, whose safety and effectiveness for coronavirus patients has not been proven.

Go deeperArrowMar 21, 2020 - Health

Drugmakers warn of medication shortages from coronavirus

Tourists with face masks walk through Union Square in New York City on Feb. 28. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Some of the largest drugmakers — including AstraZeneca, Merck and Pfizer — have said that the coronavirus outbreak could affect their supplies or sales, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Between the lines: Drug shortages can end up being incredibly serious for patients, but they're not good for business either.

Go deeperArrowMar 2, 2020 - Health

Chloroquine, an old anti-malarial drug, takes the coronavirus spotlight

A worker checks the production of chloroquine in China. Photo: Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The Trump administration is taking a very public interest in chloroquine, an old, cheap anti-malarial drug, as a potential coronavirus treatment, although it's way too soon to put much stock in its effectiveness.

What they're saying: The Food and Drug Administration is investigating whether the drug can reduce the duration of patients' symptoms in mild to moderate cases, or to reduce "viral shedding," which helps prevent disease spread.

Go deeperArrowMar 20, 2020 - Health