New research appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that high doses of the cholesterol-fighting statin Crestor seem to clear plaque from blocked arteries, suggesting that it may be possible to at least partly reverse the progress of heart disease. The study, which was led by the Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Stephen Nissen and funded by British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, was the first-large scale effort to scientifically assess the preventative impact of statin therapy. Patients were given a daily 40 mg dose of Crestor. Treatment resulted in a drop in "bad cholesterol" LDL levels from 130 milligrams per deciliter of blood to around 60, but also raised HDL or "good cholesterol" from 43 to 49. Nissen said the results achieved "what a lot of us didn't think could be done" and were in general "shockingly positive." Word of the study, which is likely to lead for calls for wider prescription of Crestor and similar statins, drew opposition from critics who say the drugs have serious risks.
- see this article from the Los Angeles Times