Novel lipid modifying drugs to lower LDL cholesterol

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Statins have long been the cornerstone for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, because of perceived adverse effects and insufficient efficacy in certain groups of patients, considerable interest exists in the search for alternatives to lower LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C), and the recent approvals of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors underlines the success of this quest. Here, we give an updated overview on the most recent developments in the area of LDL-C lowering agents.

Recent findings

The clinical effects of the PCSK9 inhibitors are promising, especially now that the FOURIER and SPIRE programmes are published. Most cholesterylester-transfer protein inhibitors, however, except anacetrapib, have been discontinued because of either toxicity or lack of efficacy in large cardiovascular outcome trials. Other agents – like mipomersen, lomitapide, ETC-1002, and gemcabene – aim to lower LDL-C in different ways than solely through the LDL receptor, opening up possibilities for treating patients not responding to conventional therapies. New discoveries are also being made at the DNA and RNA level, with mipomersen being the first approved therapy based on RNA intervention in the United States for homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia.

Summary

Recent years have witnessed a new beginning for cholesterol-lowering compounds. With increased knowledge of lipid metabolism a score of new therapeutic targets has been identified. Mechanisms for modulation of those targets are also becoming more diverse while statins remain the backbone of CVD prevention, the new alternatives, such as PCSK9 monoclonals will probably play an important additional role in treatment of patients at risk for CVD.

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