Putting the results of his study into perspective at an ACC press conference, Rhonda Cooper-DeHoff, PharmD, associate professor in the department of pharmacotherapy and translational research at the University of Florida in Gainesville, commented.
“For the last quarter of a century we have had statins available to treat elevated LDL and atherosclerosis and despite that we have many patients who refuse to take statins or are afraid to take statins,” she said. “This is not about cost as the statins are all available generically now. But many patients claim to be intolerant or unresponsive.”
She noted that in 2015/2016 the first injectable PCSK9 inhibitors became available “which really were very exciting molecules, but they have a high cost and access issues, and patients often do not like injections so there are still a lot of issues.”
Dr. Cooper-DeHoff pointed out that this oral PCSK9 inhibitor seems to be as effective at lowering LDL as the injectable products regardless of whether statins are on board or not, which she said was “super exciting.”
She added: “We are all going to be waiting excitedly for the outcome data with this oral PCSK9 inhibitor.”
She also noted that another study (CLEAR Outcomes) presented at the ACC meeting showed good lipid-lowering results and a reduction in cardiovascular outcomes in statin-intolerant patients with another oral lipid lowering drug, bempedoic acid (Nexletol).
She said the two oral drugs promised a “very bright for the future for LDL lowering and the treatment of atherosclerosis in our patients,” adding that “we are now really chipping away at the barriers to achieving the holy grail of guideline-directed LDL lowering to prevent hard outcomes.”
The results were published online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology at the time of presentation.
This study was funded by Merck. Dr. Ballantyne has received grant/research support through his institution from Abbott Diagnostic, Akcea, Amgen, Arrowhead, Esperion, Ionis, Merck, New Amsterdam, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Regeneron, and Roche Diagnostics and has been a consultant for 89Bio, Abbott Diagnostics, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Althera, Amarin, Amgen, Arrowhead, AstraZeneca, Denka Seiken, Esperion, Genentech, Gilead, Illumina, Ionis, Matinas BioPharma, Merck, New Amsterdam, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Regeneron, and Roche Diagnostics.
A version of this article first appeared on Medscape.com.