An injectable cholesterol medication, known as PCSK9 inhibitors, are emerging as an effective treatment for those who cannot tolerate statins like Lipitor, or who cannot achieve goal levels of cholesterol with standard medication.
A spate of new studies published at the American College of Cardiology meetings show that these forms of medication are safe, effective at reducing cholesterol 50+%, and are well-tolerated. In addition, some of the study information shows heart attack and stroke reductions, the endpoint most important in treatment of cholesterol.
These injections will be once a week or once a month, and will work via blockage of a protein involved in LDL (bad cholesterol) clearance. The anti-PCSK9 agents include Amgen’s evolocumab, alirocumab from Sanofi and Regeneron and Pfizer’s bococizumab.
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The latest guidelines for cholesterol treatment have been changed once again, and this time in good direction.
Rather than focusing on ‘goal numbers’ the the measure of success, the newest guidelines for cholesterol treatment take a more moderate approach, and focus on getting the ‘right’ people on medication and lowering their cholesterol effectively, if not massively. This NY Times article summarizes the latest concerns nicely.
Now, rather than focusing on guidelines and goal-numbers, we can use our statin medications (Lipitor, Pravachol, Zocor, Crestor) to gain reasonable cholesterol reductions knowing that the lion’s share of the benefits come with modest dosing and results. Yes…more can be better, but incrementally so. Pushing things to their limits is not necessarily more-and-more is better-and-better.
Like Twain noted…..”It’s not what you don’t know that gets you in trouble…it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”