Baylor College of Medicine News

Study: One pill to control multiple heart disease risk factors?

Cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, have multiple risk factors, including high cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose levels. There are different treatments that help control each imbalance, but a new study being conducted at Baylor College of Medicine, along with other sites across the country, is looking at the effectiveness of one pill to help control a number of risk factors.

Researchers are studying the drug known as ETC-1002, a small molecule compound developed by Esperion Therapeutics, Inc. In early preclinical and clinical research it has shown promising results in modulating LDL and HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, free fatty acids, glucose and other cardiometabolic risk factors.

"Many people suffer from a variety of these risk factors. Obesity alone is directly associated with high cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose levels," said Dr. Christi Ballantyne, professor of medicine and chief of cardiovascular research section at BCM. "Our goal is that this treatment can be used to help regulate more than one of these symptoms."

The 12-week study will enroll 176 patients with hypercholesterolemia, with or without high triglycerides. A placebo or ETC-1002 will be given to participants without them knowing which one they are receiving. The compound acts to inhibit fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis and enhance fatty acid oxidation.

"A one-a-day oral drug is needed to help manage the multiple metabolic problems of many patients , but we have to remember that we can not rely on a pill alone," said Ballantyne, who is also director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at the Methodist DeBakey Heart Center. "As the study continues we hope this new medication will help in treating these problems but lifestyle is a major contributor to these risk factors, and better diet and exercise habits must be established and maintained to achieve the best results."

To learn more about the study and eligibility, call the recruitment line at (713) 798-3330.