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"New cholesterol drug data 'spectacular': MD"


Source: CBC.CA

Published: 18 Nov 2021

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (3 stars)

Keywords: cholesterol anacetrapib low density lipoprotein high density lipoprotein

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

An experimental drug boosted good cholesterol so high and dropped bad cholesterol so low in a study that doctors were stunned and voiced hopes for an entirely new way of preventing heart attacks and strokes....

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 5 of 9
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Applicable
Evidence Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

While this article did include some elements of a thorough and accurate news piece, it is important to recognize that there was also some room for improvement. First and foremost, the story may have stirred some confusion with seemingly contradictory statements. At the start of the article, we read that "Anacetrapib, described as the first drug of its kind, helps keep fat particles attached to HDL, which carries them in the bloodstream to the liver to be disposed of." However, later on in the article, we read about torcetrapib, a similar drug developed by Pfizer four years ago and abandoned for safety reasons. So is Anacetrapib really the first of its kind?

There were good caveats related to the fact the drug is still being tested and the fact that the effects were only seen in LDL and HDL changes (not deaths, heart attacks or other heart problems). The article appropriately provides the absolute values for the treatment benefits and also mentions the potential conflicts of interests of the researchers and spokespeople.

It is clear that this article reflects the incredible enthusiasm of the researchers and, despite some really good caveats, this tone may give readers the impression that this new drug is more impressive that it really is. While this new treatment MAY someday change the way we treat certain patients, it is important to remember that this drug is still in its testing phase and that it is far too early to make a case for its success.

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