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PCSK9 Inhibitors: An Innovative Approach to Treating Hyperlipidemia

Sible, Alexandra M. PharmD; Nawarskas, James J. PharmD; Anderson, Joe R. PharmD

doi: 10.1097/CRD.0000000000000102
New Therapy Update

Proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors are novel agents indicated for the treatment of hyperlipidemia. Inhibition of PCSK9 produces an increase in surface low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors and increases removal of LDL from the circulation. Alirocumab (Praluent; Sanofi/Regeneron, Bridgewater, NJ) and evolocumab (Repatha; Amgen, Thousand Oaks, CA) are currently available and approved for use in patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, and clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Bococizumab (RN316; Pfizer, New York, NY) is currently being studied in similar indications, with an estimated approval date in late 2016. The pharmacodynamic effects of PCSK9 inhibitors have been extensively studied in various patient populations. They have been shown to produce significant reductions in LDL and are well tolerated in clinical studies, but they are very costly when compared with statins, the current mainstay of hyperlipidemia treatment. Clinical outcome studies are underway, but not yet available; however, meta-analyses have pointed to a reduction in cardiovascular death and cardiovascular events with the use of PCSK9 inhibitors. This review will discuss the novel mechanism of action of PCSK9 inhibitors, the results of clinical studies, and the clinical considerations of these agents in current therapy.

From the College of Pharmacy, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.

Disclosure: The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.

Correspondence: Alexandra M. Sible, PharmD, College of Pharmacy, University of New Mexico, 2502 Marble NE, Albuquerque, NM 87131. E-mail:

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