NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – When statins alone can’t reverse dyslipidemia, the thyroid hormone analogue eprotirome may be helpful, new research suggests.
In a 12-week study of 189 dyslipidemic, statin-treated patients, eprotirome safely reduced the levels of various atherogenic lipoproteins, the investigators report in The New England Journal of Medicine for March 11.
In the study, subjects continued to receive simvastatin or atorvastatin and were randomized to receive eprotirome (25, 50, or 100 micrograms/day) or placebo.
With the 25, 50, and 100 microgram doses of eprotirome, mean low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels fell by 22%, 28%, and 32%, respectively, from a baseline value of 141 mg/dL. By contrast, placebo produced a mean reduction of just 7%. Eprotirome had a similar effect on levels of serum apolipoprotein B, triglycerides, and Lp(a) lipoprotein.
Eprotirome was generally well tolerated, with no adverse cardiac or bone effects. Although thyroxine levels fell in patients receiving the drug, serum levels of thyrotropin and triiodothyronine did not change.
“This randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial showed that eprotirome is associated with further reductions in serum LDL cholesterol levels in patients who are already receiving statins,” the authors conclude. “Eprotirome also has potent properties for lower levels of apolipoprotein B, triglycerides, and Lp(a) lipoprotein.”
The study was supported, in part, by Kara Bio, the company developing eprotirome.
N Engl J Med 2010;362:906-916.