Scientists have created a pill which they claim could help thousands of people lower their cholesterol.
Initial tests on a group of 24 people showed that taking one of the new KB2115 tablets a day for two weeks could cut cholesterol levels by up to 40 per cent.
They could be used as a substitute for statins by people who suffer from side effects such as muscle weakness and liver problems.
Scientists also hope that the drug will be beneficial to women who appear to gain little benefit from statins.
The drug, which was developed by scientists at the Karo Bio pharmaceutical firm in Sweden, works by speeding up removal of cholesterol from the body by mimicking the cholesterol-lowering effect of hormones produced in the thyroid gland.
This lowers people's risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.
During initial testing the drug did not cause the heart problems which other prototypes have.
According to NHS Direct, two in three British adults have a cholesterol level above the recommended five mm per litre.
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