Researchers say there could be a new way to help prevent heart disease. Recent research shows the drug torcetrapib could help increase high-density lipoprotein levels, also known as good cholesterol. Statins have helped improve the outcomes of patients at risk for heart disease. They are commonly used to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol.
One potential therapeutic target is a low level of good cholesterol. In fact, a low level of good cholesterol is the most common abnormality observed in patients with known coronary heart disease. Researchers conducted a study looking at torcetrapib as a way to increase good cholesterol levels in patients. The study included 19 patients with low HDL cholesterol. Nine of the patients were also taking a statin drug. All of the participants received a placebo for four weeks and then received torcetrapib for four weeks. The patients who were not on a statin then took an additional four weeks of the drug twice a day.
Results showed patients on the statins and torcetrapib had a 61-percent increase in their HDL cholesterol, and those just on torcetrapib had a 46-percent increase during the four-week period. Furthermore, the patients who continued on the drug twice a day saw a 106-percent increase in their HDL cholesterol levels.
However researchers say larger studies need to be done to confirm these results.