Biggest Change for Heart Medicine in a Decade?

New cholesterol, heart failure drugs may come in 2015

Biggest change for heart medicine in a decade

People with cardiovascular disease can expect two new, potentially life-changing medications to become available in 2015.

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These “spectacular therapeutic breakthroughs are nearing FDA approval and both have enormous potential,” wrote Steven Nissen, MD, Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic, in a recent post on MedPage Today.

There have not been changes this big in heart therapeutics in more than a decade, he says. Ask your doctor if either of these pending new drugs will be right for you:

PCSK9 inhibitors. Lower cholesterol without statins.

Millions of people take statin medication to lower their “bad” LDL cholesterol. For some people, statins can cause side effects — most notably muscle pain — that make the drug intolerable.

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One of Cleveland Clinic’s Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2015, PCSK9 inhibitors are a new type of cholesterol-reducing drug. Studies have shown that they can reduce LDL by 50 to 70 percent with few, if any, adverse effects. They could very well become the go-to drug for patients who cannot tolerate statins. Or, they can be taken with statins to reduce LDL even more.

PCSK9 inhibitors are given by injection, once a month.

LCZ696. Treat congestive heart failure more effectively.

The commonly used drug enalapril helps treat congestive heart failure. But a new drug, LCZ696, may do it even better.

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Enalapril is an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor. It helps widen blood vessels and increase blood flow. LCZ696 is an ACE inhibitor combined with a second blood-pressure-lowering drug.

A recent trial showed that heart failure patients taking LCZ696 fared substantially better than patients taking enalapril. They had a lower rate of hospitalization and death. The evidence was so overwhelming, in fact, that the trial ended early.

“2015 should be exciting,” wrote Dr. Nissen. “The introduction of PCSK9 inhibitors and LCZ696 will offer patients innovative new therapeutic options, both of which are long-overdue breakthrough therapies that will change the practice of medicine.”