Alirocumab gains indication to reduce cardiovascular risks


Alirocumab has received an updated indication from the Food and Drug Administration for reducing the overall risk of major adverse cardiovascular events in patients with a recent acute coronary event.

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Alirocumab is designed to inhibit the binding of PCSK9 (proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9) to LDL receptors, thereby lowering LDL cholesterol, according to manufacturer Regeneron, which is developing alirocumab in partnership with Sanofi.

The drug was previously approved in the United States as an adjunct treatment along with diet and maximally tolerated statin therapy to help lower LDL cholesterol in adults with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia or clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

The approval of the supplemental Biologics License Application was supported by data from the ODYSSEY Outcomes trial in which 18,924 patients who had an acute coronary syndrome were randomized to alirocumab or placebo plus background high-intensity statin therapy starting at a median of 2.6 months after the event. Over 3 years’ follow-up, a composite endpoint outcome including death from coronary heart disease, nonfatal myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, or unstable angina occurred in 9.5% of alirocumab patients and 11.1% of placebo patients.

In the study, patients received subcutaneous dose of 75 mg of alirocumab every 2 weeks, which was adjusted to achieve an LDL cholesterol level of 25-50 mg/dL. The most significant benefits occurred among patients with a baseline LDL cholesterol of 100 mg/dL or higher who were taking high-intensity statins, which supports the role of LDL cholesterol reduction in improving outcomes for coronary syndrome patients, according to study investigators.

Alirocumab is given as a subcutaneous injection. The most common side effects include pain and tenderness at the injection site, and redness, itching, or swelling; some patients have reported symptoms of a common cold or flu.

More details of the ODYSSEY Outcomes trial were presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology.

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