Cardiovascular disease, or CVD, remains one of our biggest killers. And elevated cholesterol is one of CVD’s most influential biomarkers. Twenty-five percent of Americans over 40 take one of these medications, costing $20 billion annually. Are we getting any worthwhile bang for the buck?
There are expensive drugs and there are expensive drugs. But they can be very different. Two new antibody drugs that drastically lower LDL cholesterol have just hit the market. But they cost about $1,000 per month for life. Hepatitis C drugs have been targeted as too expensive, but this is worse.
Earlier this week, we discussed two novel drugs that could potentially revolutionize the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease. Both drugs are antibodies, and work by an entirely new mechanism by binding to, and inactivating a protein called PCSK9. PCSK9 plays a part in the regulation of circulating cholesterol (homeostasis).
Now, there is a new option for reducing LDL cholesterol. Regeneron/Sanofi and Amgen each received FDA approval for antibody-based drugs that work by an entirely different mechanism.
But now, an immune-based approach that is completely different from the statin mode of action, may be an alternative way to prevent cardiovascular events. Not by inhibiting the production of cholesterol, but by preventing the release of LDL cholesterol the real culprit. This could end up being superior to the mode of action by which statins function.
In what may be the most important development in the management of coronary heart disease (CHD) since the discovery of statins, clinical trials of an antibody called alirocumab which is being developed by Regeneron and Sanofi have produced some astounding results in reducing LDL, the bad type of cholesterol.
Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining strong bones. Observational studies have also suggested that vitamin D plays an important role in heart health. And now, a new study published in the