Newest Cholesterol Drugs: More Than Twice the Rate of Dementia, but Not Reduced Heart Attacks

Newest Cholesterol Drugs: More Than Twice the Rate of Dementia, but Not Reduced Heart Attacks

Patients on the latest cholesterol drugs PCSK9 inhibitors (Praluent or Repatha) are 2.34 times more likely to have confusion and memory loss than patients taking a dummy pill. According to an analysis of studies done around the world on this new class of drugs, the PCSK9 inhibitors caused definite problems with thinking and memory, but there was not a statistically significant reduction in heart attacks or death from heart attack.

How could such dangerous drugs be released on the market and approved as safe and effective by the FDA? When the FDA approved the drugs earlier in 2016, they only acknowledged that Praluent and Repatha lower cholesterol.  At the time of that approval, no study had yet reported that the drugs prevent heart attacks. The 2016 report was a combined analysis of studies done around the world on these drugs, and it could not find a statistically significant reduction in heart attacks or in deaths from heart attack.

Praluent and Repatha drastically lower cholesterol, which is turning out to be not such a good thing for the brain. Cholesterol is the most prevalent organic (meaning carbon-containing) molecule in the brain. About 25% of the body’s cholesterol is the brain, where it is mostly found on the myelin sheaths – the insulation around nerves that assure speedy transmission of electrical impulses in the brain.


Tips for the smart consumer: If one of these drugs is offered to you, demand full disclosure on adverse effects and lack of effectiveness. Find out more about cholesterol lowering drugs in No-Nonsense Guide to Cholesterol Medications by Moira Dolan, M.D.

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