PCSK9 – New Class of Cholesterol Drugs

January 21, 2023

PCSK9 (Proprotein Convertase Subtilisin/Kexin Type 9) inhibitors are a new class of cholesterol-lowering drugs that are highly effective in reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol. These drugs work by inhibiting the activity of the PCSK9 protein, which helps to regulate the levels of LDL cholesterol in the body.

One of the main merits of taking PCSK9 inhibitors is their ability to lower LDL cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that these drugs can lower LDL cholesterol by as much as 60-70%, significantly more than the reductions seen with statins, the most widely used class of cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Lower LDL can be especially beneficial for people witha a genetic condition known as familial hypercholesterolemia. In hypercholesterolemia you have extremely high levels of LDL cholesterol. PCSK9 inhibitors can also be used in combination with statins to further lower LDL cholesterol levels. This can be particularly useful for people who do not achieve sufficient cholesterol reductions with statins alone or have side effects from statins.

Another merit of PCSK9 inhibitors is that they do not appear to have the same muscle-related side effects as statins. Some people who take statins may experience muscle pain and weakness, but this has not been seen with PCSK9 inhibitors.However, there are also some demerits of taking PCSK9 inhibitors. One concern is the cost of these drugs. PCSK9 inhibitors are relatively new and are still under patent. They are therefore not available as generic drugs. This can make them very expensive, with some estimates putting the cost at several thousand dollars per year. This can be a significant barrier for many people who would benefit from the treatment.

Another demerit of PCSK9 inhibitors is that they have not been studied as extensively as statins. While the drugs are effective in reducing LDL cholesterol, there is still much that is not known about the long-term effects of these drugs. In the long term, cholesterol is best managed through lifestyle changes. Till you can change your lifestyle medicines are a good way to mitigate the risks.

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