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A preventive pill which reportedly causes a 44% reduction in heart problems has been approved for marketing by US federal regulators.
The cholesterol pill Crestor from Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca can be marketed as a preventive measure against heart attack and stroke in patients with healthy cholesterol levels, said the Food and Drug Administration.
A study in 2008 showed Crestor to reduce heart attacks, stroke and other problems by 44% in patients with normal cholesterol and slight heart disease risks. The patients had elevated levels of the C-reactive protein which is a key indicator of inflammation that can lead to clogged arteries.
Scientists are unsure whether the positive results were due to lower cholesterol or C-reactive protein, as Crestor reduces both.
Crestor is approved for men 50 and older, and women 60 and older who have elevated C-reactive protein. Patients must also have at least one risk factor for heart trouble, such as high blood pressure or a smoking habit. AstraZeneca is based in London.
Copyright Press Association 2010