Saturday, November 23, 2013

U.S. Heart Guidelines Threaten Hot New Cholesterol Drugs

News Brief by Caroline Russell-Troutman

Recent changes to US heart health guidelines may reduce future patient use and doctor approval of a line of popular new cholesterol drugs. These experimental drugs are called PCSK9 inhibitors and are said to to drastically lower LDL cholesterol levels with few major side effects. For this reason, they have been deemed “blockbuster” drugs and initially promised to make huge sales. However, new heart health recommendations place emphasis on statins, cholesterol-lowering drugs different from PCSK9 inhibitors. Instead of focusing on reduced LDL cholesterol levels, these guidelines ask doctors to prescribe medications based on a patient’s risk of developing heart diseases – a risk which is lessened when statins are prescribed. The guidelines currently pose few threats to long-prescribed non-statin medications such as Zetia and Vitorin, since many doctors trust these treatments and will not immediately adapt to new recommendations. PCSK9 inhibitors may be more affected by the new heart health guidelines since these drugs are still in development, but sales analysts remain skeptical and say that the true effects of the new guidelines cannot be determined just yet.  

Pierson, R. (2013, November 13). U.S. heart guidelines threaten hot new cholesterol drugs. Reuters. Retrieved November 22, 2013, from
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