Diabetes is a very serious condition that affects a large number of people. It has a wide array of symptoms, ranging from weakness to blindness and even the loss of limbs, if not properly managed. So the discovery of statins in the late ‘70s was of huge impact to the world’s diabetic population.
Cheap, effective, and easily accessible, statins revolutionized diabetic care forever, by helping patients reduce their LDL cholesterol levels. But sadly, some have some unpleasant reactions to statins, drastically limiting their treatment options. But according to a new study published in JAMA, a team of researchers developed PCSK9 diabetes treatment for statin intolerant patients.
Injectable, the new treatment is the best and most efficient form of diabetes treatment out there except for statins. It can successfully reduce the bad (LDL) cholesterol levels without any of the side effects known to be caused by statins in the very few people that cannot tolerate them.
But the team that tested the new treatment didn’t only focus on seeing how efficient PCSK9 actually is, but also on proving once and for all that statin intolerance is actually a real thing that happens to people. You see, there are no biomarkers to indicate that the muscle problems suffered by statin intolerant people are actually real.
So the general consensus was that they might be in fact a placebo effect. So, the team from the Cleveland clinic went on to test this theory. By performing a study on more than five hundred adults who were known to be statin intolerant, the team discovered that around two hundred of them had issues just when given statins, with the new treatment and a placebo not offering similar side effects.
According to Dr. Erik Stroes from Amsterdam’s Academic Medical Center,
This rigorously designed trial clearly shows that in carefully selected patients, statin intolerance withstands the placebo-controlled test. These often high-risk patients truly experience muscle-related side effects while on statin therapy and may therefore benefit from an alternative treatment like evolocumab to lower their LDL cholesterol.
Among patients with statin intolerance related to muscle-related adverse effects, the use of evolocumab compared with ezetimibe resulted in a significantly greater reduction in LDL-C levels after 24 weeks. Further studies are needed to assess long-term efficacy and safety.
Last year, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) gave a green light to PCSK9 inhibitors, but only for diabetes patients that inherited a disease that drastically raises their cholesterol levels. Future green lights will have to be preceded by further testing of the medicine.
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