A new drug that just received FDA approval about three weeks ago, could be a game changer for some high-cholesterol patients. You’ve heard the names Lipitor and Crestor. Statins that lower cholesterol. But about 15% of patients find themselves statin-intolerant. The side effects could be debilitating.
“Most of the cholesterol is made by the body, it’s not eaten by foods. It’s synthesized. Sometimes the body has a synthesis temperature that’s higher than what’s healthy for the patient,” said Dr Brent Muhlestein, co-director of cardiology research at Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute.
But statins were the only option despite the side effects….until now.
“They’ve developed a drug and it’s been very effective. It can lower cholesterol by 70%,” said Dr Muhlestein.
The PCSK 9 inhibitor was recently approved by the FDA. Trials about long term effects are ongoing. Now there are concerns over insurance coverage.
“We can’t break the entire medical system by giving this extremely expensive drug to everybody, but there are certain patients who could really benefit from it, at least Intermountain Select Care, so we’re trying to provide that to them,” said Dr Muhlestein.
As with any new drug, doctors at IMC fear the expensive price tag could deter patients from getting the drug.