- What is alirocumab, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for alirocumab?
- Is alirocumab available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for alirocumab?
- What are the side effects of alirocumab?
- What is the dosage for alirocumab?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with alirocumab?
- Is alirocumab safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about alirocumab?
What is alirocumab, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Alirocumab is a man-made injectable drug that reduces cholesterol levels in the blood. It is the first member of a new class of drugs called proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors. Cholesterol is carried in the blood to a large extent by particles of low density lipoproteins that are removed from the blood by liver cells. The particles are removed from the blood by low-density lipoprotein receptors (LDLR) on liver cells. PCSK9 is a protein on liver cells that promotes the destruction of LDLR. Therefore, a decrease in LDLR levels by PCSK9 results in higher blood levels of LDL cholesterol.
Alirocumab is an antibody, which means that it is a protein that binds to another protein and inactivates it. Alirocumab binds to the PCSK9 protein and prevents it from destroying LDLR. By inhibiting PCSK9, Alirocumab increases the number of LDLRs available to remove LDL cholesterol and consequently reduces LDL cholesterol levels in blood. The FDA approved alirocumab in July 2015.
What are the side effects of alirocumab?
The most common side effects associated with alirocumab treatment include
Other side effects include
Liver problems were reported in 2.5% of patients treated with alirocumab compared to 1.8% in patients treated with placebo.
What is the dosage for alirocumab?
The recommended starting dose of alirocumab is 75 mg via subcutaneous injection (into the fat layer underneath the skin) every 2 weeks. If the LDL cholesterol lowering response is not adequate with this starting dose, the dosage may be increased to a maximum dosage of 150 mg every 2 weeks. LDL cholesterol levels should be measured within 4 to 8 weeks of starting therapy to assess response to treatment, and a decision should be made whether or not to adjust the dose.
Alirocumab should only be injected by subcutaneous injection into the thigh, abdomen, or upper arm. Injection sites should be rotated with each injection to prevent or reduce injection site reactions and irritation. Alirocumab should not be co-administered with other injectable drugs at the same injection site.
Which drugs or supplements interact with alirocumab?
: No clinically significant drug-drug interactions are listed for alirocumab.
Is alirocumab safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
There is no data on the use of alirocumab in pregnant women.
It is not known if alirocumab can enter human milk or cause harm to the nursing infant.
What else should I know about alirocumab?
What preparations of alirocumab are available?
Single dose pre-filled pens and single-dose pre-filled glass syringes, each designed to deliver 1 ml of 75 mg/ml or 150 mg/ml.
How should I keep alirocumab stored?
Alirocumab should be stored in the refrigerator at 2 C to 8 C (36 F to 46 F) and protected from light and extreme heat. It should not be frozen.
Quick GuideLower Your Cholesterol, Save Your Heart
Alirocumab (Praluent) ia man-made prescription drug prescribed in addition to exercise, diet, and statin drugs to reduce LDL cholesterol levels adults with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia or adults with heart problems related to excess cholesterol in the body. Alirocumab is the first member of a new class of drugs called (PCSK9) proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin type 9 inhibitors. Side effects, drug interactions, dosing, storage, and pregnancy and breastfeeding safety information is provided.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
High Cholesterol (Hyperlipidemia) Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
High cholesterol can be a dangerous condition. Take the Cholesterol Quiz to understand what high cholesterol means in terms of...
Heart Disease Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Take our Heart Disease Quiz to get answers and facts about high cholesterol, atherosclerosis prevention, and the causes,...
Picture of Heart Detail
The heart is composed of specialized cardiac muscle, and it is four-chambered, with a right atrium and ventricle, and an...
Picture of Heart Catheter
Catheter procedures are much easier than surgery on patients because they involve only a needle puncture in the skin where the...
Picture of Cholesterol
Cholesterol carried in particles of low density (LDL cholesterol) is referred to as the "bad" cholesterol because elevated levels...
Picture of Heart
The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. See a picture of the Heart and learn more...
Heart Disease: Symptoms, Signs, and Causes
What is heart disease (coronary artery disease)? Learn about the causes of heart disease. Symptoms of heart disease include chest...
Lower Your Cholesterol, Save Your Heart
Need to lower your cholesterol levels? Use these smart diet tips to quickly and easily lower your blood cholesterol levels....
Cholesterol Drugs: What to Expect With Heart Medication
When diet and exercise aren't enough, should you turn to drugs? Learn cholesterol basics, drug classes, and available drugs along...
Heart-Healthy Diet: 25 Foods to Protect Your Cardiovascular System
See 25 foods loaded with heart-healthy nutrients that help protect your cardiovascular system. Plus, find easy meal/recipes and...
Heart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack
Learn about heart disease and heart attack symptoms and signs of a heart attack in men and women. Read about heart disease...
Am I Having a Heart Attack? Symptoms of Heart Disease
Heart attacks symptoms vary greatly for men and women, from anxiety and fatigue to nausea and sweating. Learn the warning signs...
Cholesterol Levels: What the Numbers Mean
Do you know the different cholesterol levels and what they mean? Learn the alphabet soup of cholesterol testing: LDL, HDL, good,...
High-Fiber Super Foods: Whole Grains, Fruits, & More
Learn about high-fiber foods. From fresh fruits to whole grains, these fiber-rich foods can lower cholesterol, prevent...
Heart Health Pictures: How to Lower Triglycerides
Learn 14 ways to lower triglycerides. Learn to keep your heart healthy and triglyceride levels in check with these diet,...
Cholesterol: High Triglyceride Foods to Avoid
High triglycerides increase the risk of heart disease. Lower triglyceride levels and reduce cholesterol by eating foods that...
Food Swaps for Meals and Snacks for Heart Health in Pictures
Explore 10 food swaps for heart-wise dining. Learn what food to buy and how to cook in order to make a big difference for your...
Related Disease Conditions
Cholesterol (Lowering Your Cholesterol)
High cholesterol and triglyceride levels increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Getting your cholesterol and triglyceride...
Heart disease (coronary artery disease) occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, the vessels that supply blood to...
High Cholesterol: Frequently Asked Questions
Cholesterol occurs naturally in the body. High blood cholesterol levels increase a person's risk of developing heart disease,...
Low Cholesterol Diet
Cholesterol is naturally produced by the body, and is a building block for cell membranes and hormones. Low-density lipoprotein...
Heart Disease in Women
Heart disease in women has somewhat different symptoms, risk factors, and treatment compared to heart disease in men. Many women...
Treatment & Diagnosis
Prevention & Wellness
- DASH Diet (for High Blood Pressure)
- Benefits of Exercise
- Atkins Diet
- Eating Out & Entertaining
- Special Diets & Recipes
- Weight Lifting (Resistance Exercise)
- Aerobic Exercise
- Tai Chi
- Senior Exercise
- Gluten Free Diet
- Vegetarian and Vegan Diet
- Best Life Diet
- Mediterranean Diet
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.