Added to Saved items

Twice-yearly cholesterol jab could replace daily statins

A new medication, injected twice a year, could be used to lower 'bad cholesterol' in the blood, according to new findings presented at the European Society of Cardiology conference in Paris.

Some people can effectively lower their cholesterol levels by making lifestyle changes, such as improving their diet and exercise. When this is unsuccessful, reducing cholesterol by taking a daily statin is an effective way to reduce the risk of a heart attack, stroke and vascular dementia. 
However, some people are unable to lower their cholesterol sufficiently with statins.

Researchers say a jab know as Inclisiran - given twice a year - can reduce LDL cholesterol ('bad' cholesterol) by up to 54%. The experts tested the medication on 1,600 people over 18 months. The participants experienced no apparent side effects from the injection.

Kausik Ray, professor of public health and consultant cardiologist at Imperial College London (ICL), led the study. Presenting the findings to at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Paris, he said: "This is a groundbreaking new approach for preventing cardiovascular disease with exciting implications at a population health level."

He says up to 700,000 patients in the UK with the highest cholesterol levels could benefit from the new drug, while remaining on statins. But in the long term, the jab could be offered to millions of people as an alternative to statins.

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, medical director at the British Heart Foundation said:
"Lowering your LDL or 'bad' cholesterol is a key goal in reducing your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. As it's injected twice a year, some patients may prefer to have this treatment rather than taking a pill every day. More work is needed to prove the long-term safety of the drug, but this could provide a significant advance in preventing heart and circulatory disease."

This article has not been peer reviewed by a medical professional but has still been fact-checked and is subject to Patient’s rigorous editorial guidelines. If you have any questions or queries please message the team using the contact link below.
Read next

Are you protected against flu?

See if you are eligible for a free NHS flu jab today.

Check now