Having high LDL cholesterol, commonly referred to as “bad” cholesterol, may lead people to blame themselves and their lifestyle. But eating heart-healthy foods, getting more exercise and, in many cases, taking a daily cholesterol medication, called a statin, is sometimes not enough, especially for people with known heart disease, or atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), who have already experienced having an event like a heart attack or a stroke.
This situation is more common than you think. In fact, approximately 80% of people with heart disease who take a statin, the current standard of care for lowering bad cholesterol, are still unable to meet and/or maintain their cholesterol target1.
“My heart attack was my warning sign. Now I’m taking my medication, exercising every day and eating healthy,” says Brad Helms, who ignored his high bad cholesterol and the warning signs his body gave him before he had a heart attack. “I’m also checking in with my cardiologist regularly to ensure I am keeping my cholesterol under control.”
When it comes to lowering cholesterol, sometimes medicine and lifestyle changes may not be enough to get you where you need to be. “In some cases, a high cholesterol level can be an inherited genetic predisposition,” says Dr. Norman Lepor, a Los Angeles based cardiologist. “But identifying the problem is only half the battle—many patients do everything their doctors ask, and still have cholesterol levels that are too high for them. It can be frustrating and challenging, especially if they are also managing other diseases like diabetes and hypertension or have side effects from their prescribed cholesterol lowering medication. They may decide to give up because they feel like they’ve failed and there’s nothing else they can do.”
Fortunately, there is a newly approved treatment, a medicine called Leqvio® (inclisiran), that has been approved to work with statins and a healthy diet to lower bad cholesterol in certain patients with known heart disease. The medicine is administrated by a health care provider and may fit seamlessly into a patient’s appointment schedule as it’s given twice a year after two initial doses2,3. Leqvio was shown to help keep high cholesterol down over each six-month dosing period2,3.
Meeting the cholesterol target
“Be sure your cholesterol level is checked regularly by your provider and that you go over where your LDL cholesterol goal should be,” Dr. Lepor says. “Without proper management, high cholesterol can silently accumulate over the years.”
With a healthy diet, statin therapy and the development of Leqvio, Dr. Lepor believes we will be able to offer patients with known heart disease a treatment that lowers cholesterol and keeps it low through each six-month dosing interval.
“Leqvio is a new type of therapy that works differently from other currently approved cholesterol-lowering treatments,” Dr. Lepor says. “It works with the body’s natural processes to block the creation of a specific protein that circulates in the blood and plays a role in keeping cholesterol levels high. Leqvio improves the liver’s natural ability to remove bad cholesterol from the bloodstream, helping to lower your LDL cholesterol.”
More than 8 out of 10 (84%) patients treated with Leqvio in one clinical trial achieved the guideline-recommended LDL-C target (<70 mg/dL)4,5. Those who are struggling to manage their cholesterol should talk to their health care provider to see if Leqvio is right for them.
“The most crucial thing you should know is not to give up and blame yourself for your high cholesterol,” Dr. Lepor says. “Many people struggle with lowering their bad cholesterol and keeping it down. What’s important is to keep talking to your doctor about what more can be done to help.”
To learn more about Leqvio, visit www.leqvio.com.
What is Leqvio?
Leqvio (inclisiran) is an injectable prescription medicine used along with diet and other lipid-lowering medicines in adults who need additional lowering of “bad” cholesterol (LDL-C) and have known cardiovascular disease and/or heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH), an inherited condition that causes high levels of LDL-C. It is not known if Leqvio can decrease problems related to high cholesterol, such as heart attacks or stroke.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
The most common side effects of Leqvio were: injection site reaction (including pain, redness and rash), joint pain, urinary tract infection, diarrhea, chest cold, pain in legs or arms and shortness of breath.
These are not all the possible side effects of Leqvio. Ask your health care provider for medical advice about side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Please click here for Leqvio full Prescribing Information.
- Wong ND, Young D, Zhao Y, et al. Prevalence of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association statin eligibility groups, statin use, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol control in US adults using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011-2012. J Clin Lipidol. 2016;10(5):1109-1118.
- Ray KK, Wright RS, Kallend D, et al. Two Phase 3 trials of inclisiran in patients with elevated LDL cholesterol. N Engl J Med. 2020;382(16):1507-1519.
- Raal FJ, Kallend D, Ray KK, et al. Inclisiran for the treatment of heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia. N Engl J Med. 2020;382(16):1520-1530.
- Leqvio prescribing information. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp; 2021.
- Grundy SM, Stone NJ, Bailey AL, et al. 2018 AHA/ACC/AACVPR/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/ADA/ AGS/APhA/ASPC/NLA/PCNA Guideline on the Management of Blood Cholesterol. Circulation. 2019;139:e1082–e1143.
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