Rationale and design of the CLEAR-outcomes trial: Evaluating the effect of bempedoic acid on cardiovascular events in patients with statin intolerance

StephenJ Nicholls, A Michael Lincoff, Harold E Bays, et al.


Am Heart J 2021 May;235:104-112

First published: May 1, 2021  DOI: 10.1016/j.ahj.2020.10.060



Although statins play a pivotal role in the prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, many patients fail to achieve recommended lipid levels due to statin-associated muscle symptoms. Bempedoic acid is an oral pro-drug that is activated in the liver and inhibits cholesterol synthesis in hepatocytes, but is not activated in skeletal muscle which has the potential to avoid muscle-related adverse events. Accordingly, this agent effectively lowers atherogenic lipoproteins in patients who experience statin-associated muscle symptoms. However, the effects of bempedoic acid on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality have not been studied.

Study design

Cholesterol Lowering via Bempedoic acid, an ACL-Inhibiting Regimen (CLEAR) Outcomes is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Included patients must have all of the following: (i) established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease or have a high risk of developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, (ii) documented statin intolerance, and (iii) an LDL-C ≥100 mg/dL on maximally-tolerated lipid-lowering therapy. The study randomized 14,014 patients to treatment with bempedoic acid 180 mg daily or matching placebo on a background of guideline-directed medical therapy. The primary outcome is a composite of the time to first cardiovascular death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, nonfatal stroke, or coronary revascularization. The trial will continue until 1620 patients experience a primary endpoint, with a minimum of 810 hard ischemic events (cardiovascular death, nonfatal myocardial infarction or nonfatal stroke) and minimum treatment duration of 36 months and a projected median treatment exposure of 42 months.


CLEAR Outcomes will determine whether bempedoic acid 180 mg daily reduces the incidence of adverse cardiovascular events in high vascular risk patients with documented statin intolerance and elevated LDL-C levels.

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