We performed a network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in patients with primary hypercholesterolaemia to compare the impact of proprotein convertase subtilisin-kexin type 9 serine protease (PCSK9) inhibitors with placebo and ezetimibe on lipid levels and outcomes.Methods and results
MEDLINE/PubMed, Cochrane CENTRAL, and ClinicalTrials.gov were searched for RCTs assessing PCSK9 inhibitors vs. other therapies in patients with primary hypercholesterolaemia. Network meta-analysis with both a frequentist approach and a Bayesian framework was performed to directly and indirectly compare PCSK9 inhibition on lipid levels with ezetimibe and placebo. Odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals (OR [95% CIs]) were generated with random-effects models to compare outcomes. Our meta-analysis included 17 RCTs with 13 083 patients that were randomized to PCSK9 inhibitors (n = 8250), placebo (n = 3957), ezetimibe (n = 846), or PCSK9 inhibitors and ezetimibe (n = 30). The mean age was 59 ± 10, 52% were male, 34% had coronary artery disease, 51% had hypertension, 19% had diabetes mellitus, baseline LDL of 122 ± 36 mg/dL, total cholesterol of 199 ± 39 mg/dL, and HDL of 51 ± 14 mg/dL. inhibitors significantly reduced LDL cholesterol by 57% relative to placebo (P < 0.001) and 36.1% relative to ezetimibe (P < 0.001). Proprotein convertase subtilisin-kexin type 9 serine protease inhibitors reduced the incidence of all-cause mortality [OR 0.43 (95% CI 0.22–0.82), P = 0.01] but was associated with an increased incidence of neurocognitive adverse events [OR 2.34 (95% CI 1.11–4.93), I2 = 4%, P = 0.02] when compared with placebo.Conclusion
Proprotein convertase subtilisin-kexin type 9 serine protease inhibition significantly improved lipid profiles and reduced the incidence of all-cause mortality compared with placebo but had a higher rate of neurocognitive adverse events. Thus, PCSK9 inhibitor therapy may serve as an alternative for patients with statin intolerance and for those who do not respond to other lipid reduction therapy.