BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: A limited number of trials have evaluated the efficacy of a fixed-dose combination of bempedoic acid and ezetimibe for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. The aim of this meta-analysis of existing studies was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of fixed-dose bempedoic acid and ezetimibe combination therapy for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia.
METHODS: A systematic literature search was conducted to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing bempedoic acid and ezetimibe, versus placebo or ezetimibe alone, to 30 August 2020. A meta-analysis was conducted to investigate the efficacy of bempedoic acid and ezetimibe on lipid parameters and highly sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP) levels in patients with hypercholesterolemia or established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). Mean differences (MDs) or relative risk (RR) with their corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs), using random-effects models, were used to provide pooled estimates.
RESULTS: A total of three phase II and III RCTs, comprising 388 patients, of whom 49.2% were treated with bempedoic acid and ezetimibe, and 197 controls, were identified. The duration of treatment was 12 weeks. Bempedoic acid and ezetimibe significantly reduced low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (MD - 29.14%, 95% CI - 39.52 to - 18.76; p < .001), total cholesterol (MD - 15.78%, 95% CI - 20.84 to - 10.72; p = 0.01), non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (MD - 18.36%, 95% CI - 24.60 to - 12.12; p = 0.01), and hsCRP levels (MD - 30.48%, 95% CI - 44.69 to - 16.28; p = 0.04). No significant effects on triglycerides (MD - 8.35%, 95% CI - 16.08 to - 0.63; p = 0.72) and improvement in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (MD 1.63%, 95% CI - 4.03 to 7.28; p = 0.92) were observed with the fixed-dose combination therapy. Regarding safety, bempedoic acid and ezetimibe combination was associated with a non-significant increased risk of drug-related adverse events (RR 1.61, 95% CI 0.86-2.35) and overall adverse events (RR 1.16. 95% CI 0.97-1.35); however, the incidence of discontinuation of therapy (RR 0.75, 95% CI 0.35-1.49) was lower.
CONCLUSION: This review found bempedoic acid and ezetimibe significantly lowered lipid parameters, attenuated hsCRP levels, and had an acceptable safety profile for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia and ASCVD.