UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL (UNI) — For years, doctors have focused on preventing heart attacks by lowering cholesterol in their patients, but a drug that targets inflammation may be more effective.
A new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine and Lancet tested 10,000 heart attack survivors who had inflammation. They were treated with an anti-inflammatory drug called canakinumab.
They were also given high doses of statins, the traditional drug for heart attack prevention that works by lowering cholesterol.
Scientists found the recipients of the canakinumab had a 15 percent reduced risk of heart attack, stroke or a heart-related death compared to patients who had only received statins.
Those who received the canakinumab were also 30 percent less likely to need bypass surgery or stents.
The anti-inflammatory drug also reportedly cut cancer death rates in half.
Skeptics say the drug has concerning side effects as one in every 1,000 people treated with it died of infections.