What is Praluent (alirocumab)?

Praluent is a cholesterol-lowering drug called a PCSK9 inhibitor. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July 2015. Praluent works in a different way than “statin” drugs, which are the most common medications used to treat high cholesterol. It is an antibody that increases the liver’s ability to remove LDL (“bad”) cholesterol from the blood. It is taken by injection.

Initially, the FDA has approved it to be used in combination with a statin drug (and with appropriate diet and lifestyle changes) by adults who have a certain genetic condition that causes high levels of cholesterol and an increased risk of heart attack. It’s also approved for people who have heart disease—for example, people who have had a heart attack or stroke—and aren’t able to lower their cholesterol enough with statins alone. 

In clinical trials, people taking Praluent lowered their LDL by 36 to 59 percent more compared to those who received a placebo.  

According to the FDA, the most common side effects are itching, swelling, pain, or bruising where injection is given, and the flu. Some people have had serious allergic reactions, some requiring hospitalization. 

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