PCSK9 inhibitors in the current management of atherosclerosis

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The history of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) in medical science is fascinating and the evolution of knowledge of its function has resulted in new medications of major importance for the cardiovascular (CV) patient. PCSK9 functions as a negative control or feedback for the cell surface receptors for low-density lipoprotein including its component of cholesterol (LDL-C). The initial and key findings were that different abnormalities of PCSK9 can result in an increase or a decrease of LDL-C because of more or less suppression of cell surface receptors. These observations gave hints and awoke interest that it might be possible to prepare monoclonal antibodies to PCSK9 and decrease its activity, after which there should be more active LDL-C cell receptors. The rest is a fascinating story that currently has resulted in two PCSK9 inhibitors, alirocumab and evolocumab, which, on average, decrease LDL-C approximately 50%. Nevertheless, if there are no contraindications, statins remain the standard of prevention for the high-risk CV patient and this includes both secondary and primary prevention. The new inhibitors are for the patient that does not attain the desired target for LDL-C reduction while taking a maximum statin dose or who does not tolerate any statin dose whatsoever. Atherosclerosis can be considered a metabolic disease and the clinician needs to realize this and think more and more of CV prevention. These inhibitors can contribute to both the stabilization and regression of atherosclerotic plaques and thereby avoid or delay major adverse cardiac events. (United States).




Whayne, T. F. (2017, January 1). PCSK9 inhibitors in the current management of atherosclerosis. Archivos de Cardiologia de Mexico. Instituto Nacional de Cardiologia Ignazio Chavez. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acmx.2016.11.013

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