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Heart attack and stroke patients to be recruited for global study

Posted May 23 2014 4:40am

Around 1000 people in the UK who have suffered a heart attackThe death of a section of heart muscle caused by an interruption in its blood supply. Also called a myocardial infarction. or strokeAny sudden neurological problem caused by a bleed or a clot in a blood vessel. or who have peripheral arteryA blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart. Apart from the pulmonary artery and umbilical artery, all arteries carry oxygenated blood. disease (PAD) are being recruited for a world-wide study that will investigate whether a new drug could lower the risk of patients having a second cardiovascular event.

The new study called FOURIER (sponsored by pharmaceutical company Amgen and supported by the Imperial College Clinical Trials Unit) has been launched in the UK as part of a global programme (also taking place across Europe, US, Canada, Australia, Asia and Latin America) to provide more evidence to inform and guide future strategies in the prevention of secondary cardiovascular events.

The research will investigate whether taking a new type of medication, which studies so far suggest can reduce LDL cholesterolA substance present in many tissues and an important constituent of cell membranes although high concentrations of a certain type of cholesterol in the blood are unhealthy. by about 50%, together with a statinOne of a class of drugs that inhibit cholesterol formation in the liver. will reduce the risk of secondary cardiovascular events occurring compared to just taking statin therapy.

22,500 people worldwide who have had an ischaemic stroke, a heart attack or who have peripheral arterial diseaseA disease affecting the arteries, which become narrowed, restricting blood flow to the muscles in the limbs. are being recruited world-wide for the trial which is expected to last 5 years. People taking part in the study will receive an experimental cholesterol lowering drug in combination with optimal statin therapy or optimal statin therapy alone.

Over 1800 people have taken part in earlier phase studies with this agent to date and studies where it was given on top of a statin indicate it can reduce LDL cholesterol by over 50% compared to statin therapy alone. The new medication currently being researched is not yet licensed for use.

More people die from cardiovascular diseaseDisease of the heart and blood vessels, usually due to atherosclerosis. (CVD) each year than any other cause. In the UK CVD is the biggest killer, accounting for almost 180,000 deaths in 2010 or around 1 in 3 of all deaths. Almost half (48%) of all CVD deaths was due to coronaryRelating to the arteries supplying the heart itself. heart disease (CHD) and over a quarter (28%) are from stroke.

Anyone who has had a heart attack or stroke or who has peripheral arterial disease is at greater risk of having a second cardiovascular event. However, the risk of recurrence or death can be substantially lowered with a combination of drugs consisting of statinsA class of drugs that inhibit cholesterol formation in the liver. to lower cholesterol, drugs to lower blood pressureThe pressure of blood within the arteries., andaspirin. High cholesterol is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease.

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