Cholesterol drug significantly reduced patients' risk of death in trial

New research indicates that alirocumab (Praluent—Regeneron, Sanofi) reduced patients' risk of death by 15% in a major clinical trial. The study, reported at the conference of the American College of Cardiology, involved 18,000 high-risk patients who had uncontrolled cholesterol despite taking a maximum amount of statins.

New research indicates that alirocumab (Praluent—Regeneron, Sanofi) reduced patients' risk of death by 15% in a major clinical trial. The study, reported at the conference of the American College of Cardiology, involved 18,000 high-risk patients who had uncontrolled cholesterol despite taking a maximum amount of statins. The 3-year study found that patients taking alirocumab were 15% less likely to experience a heart attack, stroke, or hospitalization compared with those taking placebo. The findings are welcome news for the drug's manufacturers, as the high list price has proven unpalatable to insurance companies. Regeneron and Sanofi announced at the conference they would offer payers a discount on the drug if they agree to ease up on their restrictions when approving prescriptions. The discount deal would apply only to patients with dangerously high levels of cholesterol who are at especially high risk for heart attack or stroke. For those high-risk individuals, who accounted for about 30% of the people in the long-term trial, alirocumab led to a 24% reduction in the risk of heart attack, stroke, and hospitalization and a 29% reduction in mortality risk.