Unmet Need for Further LDL-C Lowering in India despite Statin Therapy: Lipid Association of India Recommendations for the Use of Bempedoic Acid.
Lipid-lowering therapy plays a crucial role in reducing adverse cardiovascular (CV) events in patients with established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) and familial hypercholesterolemia. Lifestyle interventions along with high-intensity statin therapy are the first-line management strategy followed by ezetimibe. Only about 20-30% of patients who are on maximally tolerated statins reach recommended low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) goals. Several factors contribute to the problem, including adherence issues, prescription of less than high-intensity statin therapy, and de-escalation of statin dosages, but in patients with very high baseline LDL-C levels, including those with familial hypercholesterolemia and those who are intolerant to statins, it is critical to expand our arsenal of LDL-C-lowering medications. Moreover, in the extreme risk group of patients with an LDL-C goal of ≤30 mg/dL according to the Lipid Association of India (LAI) risk stratification algorithm, there is a significant residual risk requiring the addition of non-statin drugs to achieve LAI recommended targets. This makes bempedoic acid a welcome addition to the existing non-statin therapies such as ezetimibe, bile acid sequestrants, and PCSK9 inhibitors. A low frequency of muscle-related side effects, minimal drug interactions, a significant reduction in high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), and a lower incidence of new-onset or worsening diabetes make it a useful adjunct for LDL-C lowering. However, the CV outcomes trial results are still pending. In this LAI consensus document, we discuss the pharmacology, indications, contraindications, advantages, and evidence-based recommendations for the use of bempedoic acid in clinical practice.