Researchers believe that Nexletolcan is used as a safe and effective alternative for many people who cannot take statins. Olena Ruban/Gettyimages

Statins, which are used to reduce cholesterol, can save lives, but up to a third of those who need them also experience severe side effects.

A new study demonstrates that a different medication can significantly lower the chance of heart disease as well.

According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, a drug that has been given FDA approval lowers the risk of heart disease in a manner comparable to statins but without the side effects that many people who take statins encounter.

To lower the risk of heart disease, statins like Lipitor or Crestor are given to at least 93% of American adults, but the research found that a sizable minority of patients experience serious side effects like muscle aches, according to the study.

Currently, statins, a class of cholesterol-lowering drugs, are advised for those with a high chance of heart attacks and strokes.

They do have adverse effects, with muscle aches being the most prevalent one.

This adverse effect affects 7% to 29% of statin users, on average.

Nexletol is a more recent medication that the FDA authorized in 2020 to treat high cholesterol, but a recent study published in the NEJM indicates that the medication also lowers the risk of heart disease.

For many people who cannot take statins, researchers believe this data supports using Nexletol as a safe and effective alternative.

"Now we have a therapy we can give patients that is not a statin, does not have statin-related side effects that can lower LDL cholesterol substantially and importantly reduce cardiovascular morbidity," Dr. Steven E. Nissen, the lead investigator of the study said.

"Very notable impact was decreased in heart attack, which was 23%," Dr. Howard Weintraub, of NYU Langone and an expert in preventative cardiology, told ABC News.

Before beginning or discontinuing the use of any new medicine, Doctors say patients should speak with their physician.

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