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PCSK9 Inhibitors

PCSK9 inhibitors are a new class of drugs that hold promise for patients who have not responded to traditionally used cholesterol lowering drugs. Unfortunately, access to PCSK9 inhibitors has been challenging, with some reports stating that only one third of patients actually get the drug after they have received a prescription for its use.

All things PCSK9i

How do PCKS9 Inhibitors work?

An antibody, or protein, that stops proprotein convertase subtilisin-kexin type 9 is called PCSK9. This results in an increased longevity of the receptors in cells that pull LDL-C out of the blood stream. Because these receptors are now able to last longer, they are able to pull more LDL-C out of the blood stream and lower your cholesterol.

PCSK9 Inhibitors have been proven to lower LDL-C levels even in patients who do not respond to existing cholesterol lowering statins

PCSK9 Inhibitors are taken once every 2 weeks or once monthly.

Why is Lowering LDL-C necessary?

LDL-C cholesterol is bad because it contributes to plaque, a built up, thick deposit that clogs blood vessels and makes them less flexible. These plaque deposits can lead to atherosclerosis, peripheral artery disease, heart attacks, or strokes.

By increasing absorption of LDL-C into your cells, it reduces the amount in your blood and the chance of plaque being built up.

This leads to a decreased risk of developing potentially life threatening medical conditions. If you already have one of the above conditions, it slows the disease progression.

When should I take a PCSK9i?

If your doctor has told you that you have high cholesterol, high levels of LDL-C, or hyperlipidemia.

If you have tried a statin and had little to no success.

If you have familial hypercholesterolemia that is difficult to control.

If your high cholesterol cannot be managed by dietary or lifestyle changes.

If you have HeFH and/or CVD with LDL-C ~ 70-100 mg/dl.

If you and your doctor have discussed all treatment options thoroughly and agree that this will be best for you.

Why aren’t I on a PCSK9 inhibitors yet?

Although our experience and repository of knowledge with this class are growing, some doctors are waiting until more long-term research has been done to prove the impact of PCSK9 Inhibitors.

Your insurance company may refuse to cover your medication because it is costly.

Your insurance company may wish you try other medications prior to taking a PCSK9 Inhibitor, again to reduce cost to them.

In this video, hear from 50-State Network advocates Cameron and Craig, along with other patients, who have overcome remarkable denials to PCSK9 Inhibitors.

Your talking points

Patients have a right to know the truth. PCSK9 Inhibitors are not being prescribed as much because insurance companies do not see their price as “worth it.”

2 No one understands a patient’s health better than his or her physician. Insurance companies try to claim otherwise by not including PCSK9 Inhibitors in their formularies.

3 Patient access to treatment should be determined exclusively by clinical decisions, not economic decisions.

4 PCSK9 Inhibitors are proven to be effective in the most difficult cases. Even when the standard therapy has failed, PCSK9 Inhibitors can work.

5 Though initially expensive, in the long term PCSK9 Inhibitor therapy saves medical costs from avoiding heart attacks or procedures like bypasses.


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