Dalcetrapib Increases ‘Good’ HDL Cholesterol
Researchers from University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland have reported on findings nine months into a study into the effects of a drug called dalcetrapib. This is a pill still under development which aims to increase what is commonly known as good cholesterol. The nine month, mid stage studys results were encouraging because the good cholesterol, or HDL increased without increasing blood pressure or stopping the flow of blood to the blood vessels.
The study, funded by Roche, which involved 475 patients raised HDL levels by 31% in comparison to a placebo. HDL boosting drugs, such as torcetrapib, have previously been identified with increased blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attacks and death from heart disease so this study will alleviate these concerns.
Although only a mid stage study it does show promise. Study leader Thomas Luescher, MD, says “there were no toxic effects [with dalcetrapib]“. He further states, “I think we can say it is safe and has no untoward effects and it does the job as far as the [HDL cholesterol] profile is concerned.” However he accepts that this is still only a mid stage test and the effectiveness of dalcetrapib will not be known until the results from late stage studies are complete.
It will be at least two years before any benefits concerning dalcetrapib and a reduction in heart disease can be identified. Keith Fox, MD, who when addressing the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2011 stated that further research is required to prove whether increased levels of HDL will avert heart attacks and strokes. He also added that the studies have to include more patients for a longer time to prove that the drug is not dangerous over the long term.
Another report involving 130 patients, also presented to the meeting indicated that dalcetrapib slowed the progression of atherosclerosis, or fat build-up in blood vessel walls and caused no untoward effects in the patients.
Long-Term Data Needed
Dalcetrapib works by inhibiting a protein called CETP. This proteins role is to change good cholesterol into bad cholesterol. Torcetrapib worked in the same manner but addressed a different part of the protein. There is also a third drug being tested which works as a CETP blocker. It is called anacetrapib and works in the same manner as the other two drugs but focuses on yet another part of the protein.
Patients with coronary artery disease or with an increased risk of getting the disease took dalcetrapib or a placebo regularly over a period of nine months. At the end of nine months those taking dalcetrapib has increased their HDL levels on average from 39 mg/dL to 48 mg/dL. LDL, or bad cholesterol levels remained static.