NHS approves ground-breaking cholesterol-lowering medicine

A NEW drug to be rolled out on the NHS could save 30,000 lives at risk from heart attacks and strokes. As many as 300,000 patients will receive six-monthly injections of ground-breaking inclisiran over three years.

Inclisiran can be given in primary care settings as a twice-yearly injection to people with high cholesterol who have already had a previous cardiovascular event to reduce the chances of them having another. It can be used on its own or alongside statins or other cholesterol lowering drugs.

Inclisiran works in a new way. It is the first of a new type of cholesterol-lowering treatment which uses RNA interference (RNAi) to boost the liver’s ability to remove harmful cholesterol from the blood.

People with primary hypercholesterolaemia and people who have abnormally high levels of fats in their blood called mixed dyslipidaemia are at increased risk of cardiovascular events. Current standard treatment includes dietary changes, statins and other cholesterol lowering drugs, alone or in combination.

“High cholesterol is a major cause of cardiovascular disease – disease of the heart and blood vessels. It is very common and can affect anyone including those who are young, slim, fit and active. HEART UK looks forward to continuing our leading role in helping people effectively manage their cholesterol and we warmly welcome the collaboration between Novartis and the NHS to enable more people to access this innovative medicine.” comments Jules Payne, Chief Executive at HEART UK,

The positive final recommendation from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for use of inclisiran in primary care for the treatment of adult patients within its licenced indication who also have persistently elevated LDL-C levels (2.6 mmol/l or more despite maximum tolerated statins with or without ezetimibe) and a history of certain cardiovascular events.

A clinical trial is planned that will look at whether inclisiran reduces cardiovascular events in people who have never had a cardiovascular event, so in this population, inclisiran is recommended for use in research trials.