New Cholesterol Drug Is Effective — And $14,600 a Year

The first in a “revolutionary” new class of injected, cholesterol-lowering drugs has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but its price tag is likely to add to the growing debate over escalating medication costs. The drug, called Praluent, will cost about $14,600 a year — much higher than the $7,000 to $12,000 that some health-plan executives and Wall Street analysts had been expecting, according to the New York Times. It joins a number of new specialty drugs, …

Two New Cholesterol Drugs Get Advisory OK, Despite Doubts

A federal advisory panel has recommended that two powerful new cholesterol-lowering drugs be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, despite concerns that the drugs’ long-term effects are still being studied. The medications belong to a new class of biotech drugs that lower cholesterol in a different, more powerful way than statins, which have been the standard treatment to protect against heart disease for the past 20-plus years. Called PCSK9 inhibitors, they’re taken by injection every two to four weeks …

Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2015

What medical innovations will have the biggest impact in 2015? At the Cleveland Clinic’s annual Medical Innovation Summit this week, the top 10 list included a high-tech stroke ambulance, painless blood testing, new cancer therapies and a vaccine that could help 50 million to 100 million people in more than 100 countries. The list of up-and-coming technologies and drug therapies was chosen by a panel of 110 physicians and scientists, and announced at the conference in Cleveland. Here are their …

Huh? 87 Percent of Men Age 60-Plus Should Take a Statin?

If statin guidelines released last fall were followed to the letter, nearly all men between ages 60 and 75 would be taking a cholesterol-lowering drug even if they didn’t have heart disease, according to a new study that analyzed the impact of the controversial recommendations. The Duke University-led study projected that following the guidelines would result in nearly 13 million more Americans taking statins, most of them 60-plus. Among adults 60 to 75 without heart disease and not on statins, …

New Warning About Grapefruit and Pills

It’s been known for some time that grapefruit juice can interact badly with some medications, but now Canadian experts warn that even more medications can cause these interactions – and the result, in some cases, can be deadly. Researchers at the University of Western Ontario said that while 17 drugs were identified in 2008 as having the potential to cause very serious problems when taken with grapefruit, the number has now grown to 43. Thirteen drugs may be lethal when …

Statin Benefits Outweigh Diabetes Risk

One in four Americans over age 45 take the cholesterol-lowering drugs collectively known as statins. Recently, some researchers have raised concern that these drugs could increase diabetes risk, especially among post-menopausal women or people taking high statin doses. But a large new analysis shows that the cardiovascular benefits of statins outweigh diabetes concerns, even for high-risk groups.