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Get Shots, Not Pills for Cholesterol

Thursday, 21 Apr 2016 04:17 PM Current | Bio | Archive

For a quarter century, people have taken pills daily to lower their cholesterol. Now, several drug companies are looking at providing such treatments by injection, which would be given less frequently.

The new drugs for lowering cholesterol are known as PCSK9 inhibitors. They act on PCSK9, short for proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin 9, a type of protein discovered in 2003 that is involved with the body’s manufacture of cholesterol.

PCSK9 inhibitors bind to LDL cholesterol receptors, helping to lower the level.

One of the drugs appeared to safely and effectively lower LDL cholesterol when given once every two weeks, according to researchers at a recent meeting of the European Society of Cardiology.

Several of these drugs, which are taken every two to four weeks, are currently in testing, either as a stand-alone treatment or used in conjunction with statins. They are more costly than statin drugs, so would likely be prescribed for people who are genetically predisposed to develop high cholesterol.

But this isn’t all that may be on the horizon. Researchers at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and the University of Pennsylvania are investigating changing genetics with a goal of discovering a one-time only cholesterol treatment.

These researchers have developed an injection that could alter a gene mutation. This particular genetic mutation is extremely rare, but in those who carry it, the drug would reduce their risk of a heart attack by up to 90 percent.

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Several drug companies are looking at providing cholesterol treatments by injection, which would be given less frequently.
cholesterol, PCSK9 inhibitors, statins
Thursday, 21 Apr 2016 04:17 PM
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