The Sanofi/Regeneron PCSK9 inhibitor alirocumab (Praluent)— approved in July in the US — lowered cholesterol in patients with familial hypercholesterolemia to levels “unreachable with statins” researchers said at the European Society of Cardiology meeting in London, UK.
While PCSK9 inhibitors have been shown to help patients lower their cholesterol levels, there are still questions about potential side effects as well as when and how the medication will be made affordable and available to patients.
It was less than two decades ago that researchers uncovered the role of PCSK9 in a person's body. In just the past few months two new medications have been developed that could go a long way in helping win the fight against bad cholesterol.
The US Food and Drug Administration last night announced it has approved evolocumab (Repatha/Amgen), an injectable drug for some patients who are unable to get their LDL cholesterol under control.
Statins are a cheaper and generally effective treatment, but the new class of drugs is expected to help people who cannot tolerate them, for whom they do not work, and for people with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia.
Statins are very effective and well tolerated in most people, but PCSK9 inhibitors may offer a new option for patients who either cannot tolerate statin therapy or who need more aggressive LDL lowering. The panelists also discuss what the ODYSSEY Alternative trial revealed about PCSK9 inhibition in patients with statin intolerance.