There is a lot of excitement within the cardiology community regarding a new class of medication which can lower “bad” cholesterol or LDL, to very low levels.
The new class is called PCSK9 inhibitors and the FDA has approved two medications within this class— alirocumab (Praluent) and evolocumab (Repatha).
Here’s what you should know about the new medications:
For many years, statins such as rosuvastatin (Crestor) and atorvastatin (Lipitor) have been the mainstay in the treatment of high cholesterol. To help you understand more about these commonly used drugs, we break down how they’re different from the newer medications:
- The drugs come in pill form
- The most common side effects include muscle and joint pain
- Some patients can’t get their cholesterol to optimal levels with statins alone
- Preferred drugs because they are more widely studied and tested, and less expensive – so insurance companies are more likely to allow their use
Statins remain the first choice for lowering cholesterol levels. However, this new class of medication is an exciting addition to the overall prevention and treatment of the build-up of fats, cholesterol and other substances that can clog arteries. The new medications can also be used to prevent and treat coronary artery disease. Finally, another option to consider – the new class of medication can be used along with a statin for even greater cholesterol reduction.
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