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This week: new cholesterol medicine, smoking cessation and more

People with high cholesterol, who cannot tolerate statin drugs, may have a new option with a new class of drugs known as PCSK9 inhibitors.

Upstate cardiologist Robert Carhart says these new injectable drugs are biologics known as monoclonal antibodies -- which help clear artery-clogging LDL, or bad cholesterol. They accomplish this by inactivating proteins that otherwise would attach to receptors that are responsible for clearing the LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream.  

“These drugs have been in clinical trials. They’ve shown dramatic decreases,” Carhart says. The first has been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration, but the high cost means there will be a lot of discussion about the economics. "In terms of, is it worth it?” he says.

Also on this week’s program: an update on liver, pancreas and gallbladder surgeries. Plus, a look at smoking cessation efforts.

Join us this Sunday, August 30 at 9 p.m. for HealthLink on Air on WRVO Public Media.