PCSK9 inhibitors are a new class of drug that dramatically lowers LDL cholesterol. LDL is the “bad cholesterol” implicated in blocked arteries that cause heart attacks and strokes. PCSK9 inhibitors are injected every several weeks. They are expensive.
Pharmacist Catherine writes:
“We know this drug lowers LDL cholesterol. But what we really care about (or should care about) is whether this medication lowers the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. This data isn’t yet available. From what data I could easily access, it seems that the PCSK9 inhibitors can halve your risk of having heart attack over one year. This might sound good, but when you look at actual numbers, not so good. Of the ~4500 people studied, about 2% in the control group had an ‘event’ (heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular event) compared to about 1% in the treatment group. And the difference between the groups was only about 60 people. The study size just simply isn’t big enough, nor has it run for long enough to really tell if these medications are worth it. A bigger study is in progress, but we won’t get the results before 2017. Even then, we may not have the long-term risk/benefit data. A systematic review on the medications in 2014 concluded that there is currently insufficient data to show benefit.”
I also want to know the effect of these drugs on death rates. As they say, “more studies are needed.”
Hey, guess what? The Mediterranean diet prevents heart attacks and strokes, and extends lifespan.
Steve Parker, M.D.