High cholesterol is linked to poor cardiovascular health, including atherosclerotic heart disease. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in America. Approximately 610,000 people die of heart disease every year. According to this recent FDA news release, those with familial high cholesterol, also known as heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH), are at an increased risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and heart attacks. The FDA announced the approval of a new treatment option for those suffering from this inherited condition or patients with clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks or strokes, who require additional lowering of LDL cholesterol.This promising new drug is called Praluent (alirocumab) and is an injectable drug.
What is Praluent?
Praluent is an antibody that targets a protein in the body that works in reducing receptors on the liver that remove LDL cholesterol from the blood. LDL (known as “bad cholesterol”) in the blood is one of the main risk factors for heart disease and heart attack. The drug essentially blocks the protein’s ability to work, which in turn allows more LDL receptors in the liver available, therefore reducing the overall LDL levels in the blood.
How Effective is Praluent?
Praluent was put through five placebo-controlled trials that involving several thousands of individuals. All people involved had HeFH or were very high risk of a heart attack or stroke. Most participants were on the maximum tolerated dose of statin. This new drug has an impressive outcome, with LDL reduction ranging from 36 to 59 percent. Through these studies, researchers determined that Praluent is a promising treatment option for many.
Side Effects of Praluent
There were some side effects associated with Praluent, which included itching, swelling, pain, or bruising where the injection was given. There were also a few cases of flu-like symptoms shortly after the injection was given. More serious side effects were reported due to allergic reactions. These included a skin rash and hypersensitivity reactions that required hospitalization. If you are at higher risk for allergic reactions, discuss your options with your doctor.
If you suspect that you have familial high cholesterol or your cholesterol is not adequately controlled, ask your specialist about this new and exciting treatment option. To speak to one of the specialists at Brookhaven Heart, call (631) 654-3278.