Although statins play a pivotal role in the prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, many patients fail to achieve recommended lipid levels due to statin-associated muscle symptoms. Bempedoic acid is an oral pro-drug that is activated in the liver and inhibits cholesterol synthesis in hepatocytes, but is not activated in skeletal muscle which has the potential to avoid muscle-related adverse events. Accordingly, this agent effectively lowers atherogenic lipoproteins in patients who experience statin-associated muscle symptoms. However, the effects of bempedoic acid on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality have not been studied. STUDY DESIGN: Cholesterol Lowering via Bempedoic acid, an ACL-Inhibiting Regimen (CLEAR) Outcomes is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Included patients must have all of the following: (i) established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease or have a high risk of developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, (ii) documented statin intolerance, and (iii) an LDL-C ≥100 mg/dL on maximally-tolerated lipid-lowering therapy. The study randomized 14,014 patients to treatment with bempedoic acid 180 mg daily or matching placebo on a background of guideline-directed medical therapy. The primary outcome is a composite of the time to first cardiovascular death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, nonfatal stroke, or coronary revascularization. The trial will continue until 1620 patients experience a primary endpoint, with a minimum of 810 hard ischemic events (cardiovascular death, nonfatal myocardial infarction or nonfatal stroke) and minimum treatment duration of 36 months and a projected median treatment exposure of 42 months. CONCLUSIONS: CLEAR Outcomes will determine whether bempedoic acid 180 mg daily reduces the incidence of adverse cardiovascular events in high vascular risk patients with documented statin intolerance and elevated LDL-C levels.
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