Are There Any Medications That Make Atherosclerosis Go Away?

Dr. Deepak Bhatt answers the question: Are There Drugs To Cure Atherosclerosis?'

ByDeepak Bhatt, M.D., Associate Director, Cardiovascular Coordinating Center
November 24, 2008, 4:57 PM

— -- Question: Are there any medications that make atherosclerosis go away?

Answer: Lots of patients, and for that matter, doctors, would love for there to be a pill that makes atherosclerosis -- or hardening of the arteries or blockages of the arteries -- go away.

Unfortunately, nobody has yet stumbled upon that holy grail of cardiovascular medicine, where just taking a pill makes plaque dissolve, so-called plaque Drano that people have theorized about but nobody has actually succeeded in developing.

But there are a number of different companies and universities working on strategies to try to really make plaque that's there go away.

At the current time, there are strategies that can be helpful. For example, in people with elevated cholesterol levels, intense reduction of cholesterol in some studies has shown that plaque build-up in the arteries actually stabilizes, and in some fortunate individuals, actually goes away, but that's a more gradual process and not such a dramatic process.

But there is a role that cholesterol-lowering medicines -- and, of course, a healthy diet and lifestyle -- can have in trying to at least keep plaque that's there from getting worse, and in some cases, even go away.

Next: Why Do I Have To Get Blood Drawn Regularly While On Cholesterol Medication?

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