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Posted By: Daniel Thibodeau, MHP, PA-C
January 31, 2020
Normally, when a new drug hits the United States market you will see a small market spike of curiosity. As we continually seek ways to improve the health and wellness of our patients, the study of dyslipidemia has become hot with activity and promise in lowering overall risk for cardiovascular (CV) disease. Over the last few years, we have seen the advent of a new class of medications called proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors for the lowering of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). After recent research conducted by The Medicines Company (recently purchased by Novartis), a new PCSK9 inhibitor, inclisiran, is showing real promise in clinical trials. Though not yet published in full, this drug's mechanism of action is a bit different than its competitors, evolocumab and alirocumab, which bind to the PCSK9 receptor and allow the re-absorption of LDL into the liver with very good results. Instead, inclisiran utilizes small interfering RNA to prevent PCSK9 production in the liver and consequently lowers LDL.
Now, the United Kingdom is allowing inclisiran to be given to high-risk patients in order to reduce the risk of patients' overall CV burden. The initial results are identical to those of the other two PCSK9 drugs, but are achieved by following a very different delivery schedule. Rather than having a single injection each month like alirocumab and evolocumab, inclisiran will be given as an initial injection, then at 3-months, and followed by every 6-months. Imagine only having to take a medication twice a year to dramatically lower your LDLs!
While inclisiran has been approved in the UK, the US FDA has yet to approve its distribution in the US. However, anticipation of this new option for patients with elevated LDL levels is high and will give clinicians another great way to lower the risk for CV disease.
- Lovelace B. Novartis strikes deal with UK to provide cholesterol drug to high-risk patients. www.cnbc.com/2020/01/13/novartis-strikes-deal-with-uk-to-provide-cholesterol-drug-to-high-risk-patients.html. Accessed January 16, 2020.