New Drug Approved to Lower LDL Cholesterol
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new prescription medication designed to lower a patient’s LDL cholesterol levels. Low-density lipoproteins are considered more dangerous than other forms of cholesterol. In addition, there are individuals with a propensity for developing chronic heart disease due to a genetic abnormality that occurs in family groups. This genetic disorder can lead to a higher incidence of stroke or heart attack despite consuming a healthy diet and exercising on a regular basis. For several years, physicians have prescribed statins to reduce high-levels of cholesterol because the medications inhibit the production of certain enzymes.
New Medication is designed as a Self-Injectable Drug
Medical researchers have studied a new injectable drug to help patients with high LDL cholesterol levels. Patients are able to self-inject proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 inhibitors every two weeks instead of ingesting statins that are designed in a pill format. Patients who need medication to reduce their LDL cholesterol are excited about new treatment to replace statins that were developed during the 1980s. Over 70 million people in the United States have high LDL cholesterol levels that are a significant health risk, but they experience side effects such as muscle pain and nausea from statins.
Drug May Reduce Strokes and Heart Attacks
This new medication is formulated to reduce the production of a natural substance manufactured by the liver that prevents the organ from removing cholesterol from the blood. Two well-known pharmaceutical companies have developed a PCSK9 inhibitor that has reduced cholesterol in patients by approximately 60 percent. With the approval of PCSK9 inhibitors from the FDA, researchers plan to track patients’ outcomes to determine if the medication reduces the incidence of heart attacks and strokes along with saving lives.
Genetic Abnormality Led to Discovery
Individuals with familial hypercholesterolemia provided helpful information with their genetic structure to isolate the chromosome mutation PCSK9 that is responsible for high LDL cholesterol. Not only was the discovery of this genetic abnormality helpful for individuals with familial hypercholesterolemia, but it led to a new drug for others with high LDL cholesterol. Currently, the FDA advisory committee has approved one form of PCSK9 inhibitor and is considering approving additional brands made by other pharmaceutical companies. Medical experts believe this drug will save money because of the decrease in heart attacks and strokes of individuals with high LDL cholesterol.