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New Cholesterol Medications Lower Cholesterol More Effectively Than Statins

Evulocumab and alirocumab inhibit PCSK9, a protein responsible for cholesterol regulation, decreases cholesterol levels….

It is important for diabetics to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Prolonged exposure to glucose can damage the arteries and, over time, narrow and clog the arteries. Over 80% of the time, diabetes with high cholesterol will result in heart failure. There are many options to reduce cholesterol levels, one of which is statins. Statins are the most commonly prescribed medication to lower cholesterol. They do not, however, reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack, and do increase the risk of development of type 2 diabetes. One study showed that statins increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by 46 percent. A new class of medication was found to be more effective than statins or any other “bad” cholesterol-lowering agents available.

Evulocumab and alirocumab are two newly developed cholesterol medications that can reduce about 60 percent of the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or the bad cholesterol, in the body more effectively than statin drugs, while reducing the risk of heart attacks and stroke. Both drugs inhibit PCSK9, a protein responsible for cholesterol regulation, thus, reducing the levels of cholesterol. This is a very important finding, as not only have statin drugs not been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, but statins may also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Yet, the new drugs can help with both conditions.

Lead author Marc Sabatine, senior physician in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston, stated, “The reduction in LDL was profound and that may be why we saw a marked reduction in cardiovascular events so quickly.” He also mentioned, “It suggests that if we can drive a patient’s LDL cholesterol down a large amount to a very low level, we may start to see a benefit sooner than would be expected with a more modest intervention.”

Jennifer G. Robinson. Efficacy and Safety of Alirocumab in Reducing Lipids and Cardiovascular Events, New England Journal of Medicine. March 15, 2015DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1501031