Nissen SE, Lincoff AM, Brennan D, et al. Bempedoic Acid and Cardiovascular Outcomes in Statin-Intolerant Patients. N Engl J Med. 2023 Mar 4. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2215024. (Original study)

BACKGROUND: Bempedoic acid, an ATP citrate lyase inhibitor, reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels and is associated with a low incidence of muscle-related adverse events; its effects on cardiovascular outcomes remain uncertain.

METHODS: We conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial involving patients who were unable or unwilling to take statins owing to unacceptable adverse effects ("statin-intolerant" patients) and had, or were at high risk for, cardiovascular disease. The patients were assigned to receive oral bempedoic acid, 180 mg daily, or placebo. The primary end point was a four-component composite of major adverse cardiovascular events, defined as death from cardiovascular causes, nonfatal myocardial infarction, nonfatal stroke, or coronary revascularization.

RESULTS: A total of 13,970 patients underwent randomization; 6992 were assigned to the bempedoic acid group and 6978 to the placebo group. The median duration of follow-up was 40.6 months. The mean LDL cholesterol level at baseline was 139.0 mg per deciliter in both groups, and after 6 months, the reduction in the level was greater with bempedoic acid than with placebo by 29.2 mg per deciliter; the observed difference in the percent reductions was 21.1 percentage points in favor of bempedoic acid. The incidence of a primary end-point event was significantly lower with bempedoic acid than with placebo (819 patients [11.7%] vs. 927 [13.3%]; hazard ratio, 0.87; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.79 to 0.96; P = 0.004), as were the incidences of a composite of death from cardiovascular causes, nonfatal stroke, or nonfatal myocardial infarction (575 [8.2%] vs. 663 [9.5%]; hazard ratio, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.76 to 0.96; P = 0.006); fatal or nonfatal myocardial infarction (261 [3.7%] vs. 334 [4.8%]; hazard ratio, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.66 to 0.91; P = 0.002); and coronary revascularization (435 [6.2%] vs. 529 [7.6%]; hazard ratio, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.72 to 0.92; P = 0.001). Bempedoic acid had no significant effects on fatal or nonfatal stroke, death from cardiovascular causes, and death from any cause. The incidences of gout and cholelithiasis were higher with bempedoic acid than with placebo (3.1% vs. 2.1% and 2.2% vs. 1.2%, respectively), as were the incidences of small increases in serum creatinine, uric acid, and hepatic-enzyme levels.

CONCLUSIONS: Among statin-intolerant patients, treatment with bempedoic acid was associated with a lower risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (death from cardiovascular causes, nonfatal myocardial infarction, nonfatal stroke, or coronary revascularization). (Funded by Esperion Therapeutics; CLEAR Outcomes ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02993406.).

Discipline Area Score
Public Health 6 / 7
Family Medicine (FM)/General Practice (GP) 6 / 7
General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US) 6 / 7
Internal Medicine 6 / 7
Cardiology 6 / 7
Comments from MORE raters

General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US) rater

Good to know there is a medication to reduce cardiovascular outcomes in those who are statin intolerant. The number needed to treat for the primary endpoint is 62; the number needed to harm (gout) is 100. Google says bempedoic acid costs $400 for 30 tabs. I doubt I'll prescribe it, but patients may ask.

Internal Medicine rater

Potentially useful but the drug is not yet on the market. The benefits are modest and there are DIFFERENT adverse effects from statins, but not NO adverse effects.

Public Health rater

Recently presented and widely publicised, this RCT demonstrates the effectiveness of a novel lipid-lowering agent in patients who are intolerant of statins. This will definitely have a significant impact on clinical practice.
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