French pharmaceutical company Sanofi’s Praluent (alirocumab) has been recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as an effective treatment option for people with inherited high levels of bad cholesterol.
Alirocumab belongs to the recent cholesterol-lowering class of treatments called PCSK9 inhibitors, which is a protein that can effectively manage bad cholesterol by regulating the number of receptors for bad cholesterol on the surface of the liver.
The treatment enhances the availability of receptors for bad cholesterol by reducing PCSK9, thereby reducing the levels of bad cholesterol in a person’s blood.
Praluent has been jointly developed by Sanofi and Regeneron.
Bad cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), can cause high risk of heart attack or stroke among the patients.
Praluent is recommended for use in patients who fail to reach their LDL treatment goals, or reduce their bad cholesterol levels, in spite of following restricted diet, as well as taking a maximum tolerated dose of a statin and / or other lipid-lowering therapies.
The patients able to be treated with Praluent are either the ones with an inherited form of high levels of cholesterol, heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia (HeFH), or ones who are intolerant to statin.
Lister Hospital Hertfordshire consultant chemical pathologist and UK chief investigator of three clinical studies involving alirocumab Dr Adie Viljoen said: "This recommendation includes several groups of patients, all of whom need to have their LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol) reduced and now a larger number of patients will potentially benefit from these treatments.
"We now have an approved new medication available to improve the treatment of uncontrolled high cholesterol."
However, the effect of Praluent on CV morbidity and mortality has not yet been determined.