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Cholesterol drug approved.

Cholesterol drug approved

The first of a new class of cholesterol-lowering drugs has been approved for use in patients, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced last week. Called lovastatin, the drug acts by inhibiting the enzyme that controls the body's production of cholesterol in the liver. This indigenous cholesterol, along with that from certain foods, contributes to a person's blood cholesterol level. Excessive cholesterol levels, along with cigarette smoking and high blood pressure, have been implicated as contributors to heart disease. Cholesterol build-up narrows the arteries.

Manufactured by Merck Sharp & Dohme of West Point, Pa., lovastatin joins other cholesterol-lowering drugs like nicotinic acid and colestipol (SN: 6/27/87, p.407). In making the announcement, federal officials said clinical studies completed prior to FDA approval showed that lovastatin can reduce total cholesterol levels by 18 to 24 percent. As with the previously pproved drugs, those announcing the approval recommended that lovastatin be used only in high-risk groups and in conjunction with diet and exercise therapy.
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Title Annotation:lovastatin
Publication:Science News
Date:Sep 12, 1987
Words:168
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