New Inflammation Drug That Can Protect Heart Health

Source: The New England Journal of Medicine

Inflammation is the response of the body to an external agent resulting in redness, fever and swelling in the tissue. However, excess inflammation has been linked to various diseases including obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. Inflammation is also known to be a risk factor for heart disease. A recent research study carried in Boston has found that a new anti-inflammatory injectable medication called canakinumab helps reduce inflammation and may also slow the progression of cancer. Besides statins, canakinumab is believed to be the only drug which has provided positive outcomes in lowering cholesterol and inflammation, the two major reasons for heart disease.

The study was carried out on people who have heart disease, who had a history of heart attacks and strokes and also who reported with longstanding inflammation. People on canakinumab had a lower occurrence of heart related events and deaths, when compared with those not taking the medication. The cholesterol levels improved in people who were administered with this new drug.

Cholesterol lowering drugs are prescribed to people who have heart disease to prevent recurrence of heart attack. People who had been administered with canakinumab showed 15 per cent reduction in risk of heart disease. Also there was 30 per cent reduction in the need for interventional operations such as bypass surgery for treatment in heart diseases. The study has also shown that the drug has positive effect on inflammation independent of cholesterol levels in people who have heart disease. Canakinumab is currently considered effective to treat other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. However, canakinumab was associated with fatal infections which may severely limit its use.

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