This Cholesterol Drug Combination Might Lower Your Risk of Death, Study Finds

From TIME - March 10, 2018

(ORLANDO)A newer cholesterol drug, used with older statin medicines, modestly lowered heart risks and deaths in a big study of heart attack survivors that might persuade insurers to cover the pricey treatment more often.

Results on the drug, Praluent, were announced Saturday at an American College of Cardiology conference in Florida. Its the first time a cholesterol-lowering drug has reduced deaths since statins such as Lipitor and Crestor came out decades ago.

Its the ultimate outcome; its what matters to patients, said study leader Dr. Philippe Gabriel Steg of Hospital Bichat in Paris.

But the benefit was small167 people would need to use Praluent for nearly three years to prevent a single death.

Thats a high cost that may still hinder its use, said one independent expert, Dr. Amit Khera, a preventive cardiologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and a spokesman for the American Heart Association.

The drugs makers, Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, sponsored the study and said they would work with insurers on pricing to get the medicine to those who need it the most.

About the Study

Doctors focus on lowering LDL, or bad cholesterol, to prevent heart problems. Statins are the main medicines for this, but some people cant tolerate or get enough help from them.

Praluent and a similar drug, Amgens Repatha, work in a different way and lower cholesterol much more. Patients give themselves shots of the medicine once or twice a month. The drugs have been sold since 2015 but cost more than $14,000 a year, and insurers have balked at paying without proof that they reduce health problems, not just the cholesterol number.

What Doctors Say

Pressure on Price


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