A new type of drug – called bempedoic acid – could offer another weapon in the fight against bad cholesterol.
An international study suggests the pill lowers cholesterol in people who continue to have high levels despite taking other drugs such statins.
And scientists suggest the new therapy may also work as an alternative for people who are unable to take statins because of side-effects.
The research is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Researchers say they have asked UK and US drug regulators to consider whether to approve the pill.
Cardiovascular disease kills about 150,000 people in the UK each year.
Bad cholesterol is one of the main reasons – it leads to blood vessels furring up and becoming easy to block.
Blockages can be fatal – starving the heart or brain of oxygen and causing heart attacks and strokes.
Cutting saturated fat and having a healthy diet, along with regular exercise, can help lower bad cholesterol.
But this doesn’t work for everyone.
And, for some, genetic conditions – rather than lifestyle – increase their levels.
Millions of people worldwide are prescribed drugs, most commonly statins, to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood.
But reported side-effects and how often these drugs are prescribed has attracted controversy.