Chidren having an inherited disease - familial hypercholesterolemia, that causes high cholesterol levels and thus makes them susceptible to heart attack in an age of mid-20, were successfully treated with a statin drug that made no adverse impact on their growth an maturation.
Researchers at the University of Amsterdam who reported the finding in the July 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, said the long-term effectiveness and safety of cholesterol-lowering drugs have not been evaluated in children previously, and the new study offers an extensive look.
A two-year study finds children who took the drug pravastatin had significant improvement in the thickness of the walls of their carotid arteries, which supply blood to the brain. They also had sharply reduced levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the "bad" kind that clogs vessels.
What's more, the drug worked without any apparent adverse effects on the children's growth, sexual maturation, hormone levels or liver or muscle tissue -- at least over the period of the study.
"It seems to be safe and it works," said Wiegman, lead author of the study. "It makes the vessel walls thinner, and perhaps they [will] have a normal life expectancy."