Boosting 'Good' Cholesterol Doesn't Help, May Hurt

Test of drug niacin halted when results became clear
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2011 1:30 PM CDT
Pills, not niacin, are shown. New research concludes that taking niacin to raise "good" cholesterol levels may not help and could actually hurt.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

(Newser) – Raising your “good” HDL cholesterol might not be such a good idea. A federally funded study into the effectiveness of the HDL booster niacin has been abruptly cut off, after it became clear that the drug did nothing to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke—and in the case of one type of stroke, may actually have increased it, officials announced yesterday. The finding is a major blow to what had been a promising treatment for cardiovascular disease.

“This sends us a bit back to the drawing board,” the acting director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute tells the Washington Post. But researchers say they’re not totally willing to give up on HDL cholesterol yet: Another drug taking the approach might work, or perhaps the treatment could benefit a different type of patient.

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