The quick answer to ‘Am I a candidate for one of the two new PCSK9 cholesterol-lowering drugs?’ is Probably Not (unless you have FH or have heart disease / have had a heart attack.)
The reason? Two, actually. First, this totally new class of (injectable) cholesterol-lowering drugs is approved ONLY for those with high cardiac risk. And secondly, clinical study results with key safety data won’t be available for YEARS.
The two new drugs, Praluent and Repatha, were approved this past summer by the FDA only for those with a serious, genetically inherited disease that causes very high LDL (bad) cholesterol called Familial Hypercholsterolemia (FH) and/or for those who have heart disease / have suffered a heart attack.
The cholesterol-watching world is filled to the brim with acronyms and easily confused verbiage. Who can remember what LDL and HDL stand for – much less which is the good and which is the bad cholesterol? And then there’s Apo-B and LDL particle size to boot. But today I learned one that was total news to me: FH.
Turns out, FH stands for Familial Hypercholesterolemia which, in a nutshell, is very high LDL (bad) cholesterol that is caused by genetics. A more complete definition is given on The FH Foundation website:
Lipitor, Pfizer’s blockbuster cholesterol-lowering statin medication, has been approved for use in children with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia in the US since 2002, according to Pharmafile. (FH is an “inherited disorder that leads to aggressive and premature cardiovascular disease”). And those with FH are likely in great need of Lipitor.
But FH is a pretty rare disease. And Pfizer’s putting a lot of effort into chewable Lipitor.
Is Pfizer is positioning itself to profit – at the expense of children – by inducing pediatricians to more broadly prescribe Lipitor for children?