Cholesterol level concerns?
Cholesterol level concerns?

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Inherited cholesterol facts
  • People with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) are at greater risk of heart disease
  • 1 in 250 people in the UK are believed to have FH 
  • Over 260,000 people in the UK may have FH, with fewer than 10% diagnosed
  • 56,000 children in the UK may have FH but only 600 of these are known

Two cheers for NICE today as the latest class of cholesterol lowering medicine is given the green light, but more needs to be done for people with high cholesterol

HEART UK and patients at risk of heart attacks and strokes today celebrate the NICE announcement to recommend a new class of cholesterol lowering medicines. The PCSK9 inhibitors are an innovative medicine for people at high risk of cardiovascular events due to high cholesterol.

The recommendations come following pressure from HEART UK to grant access for at-risk patients, who may otherwise have a heart attack or stroke caused by heart disease and high cholesterol.

With the support of over one hundred health care professionals and world class experts, in addition to hundreds of patients we led a campaign which saw NICE reverse its original decision to deny patients access to this life saving medication. Through social media and a letter writing campaign to key decision makers across Westminster, in addition to meetings with NICE, the case to save lives has moved a significant pace forward.

Today is an important day in preventing heart disease in people at risk from high cholesterol, particularly for people born with high levels of cholesterol and not due to their diet and lifestyle. Familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) affects at least 120,000, which is the equivalent to the population size of Colchester.

While this new medication will help towards minimising someone’s risk of a heart attack and stroke, the levels of diagnosing and finding FH remains extremely low. 85% of people living with FH don’t know they have the condition and without proper treatment will remain at high risk of dying younger.

People living with FH have highly effective treatments and can lower their risk substantially, but with detection rates still very poor there is still a lot more work to be done.

HEART UK is the leading charity offering information and support for people living with, and affected by, FH and high cholesterol. We will continue our work to make sure more people are given the help they need and the dangers of high cholesterol are taken seriously.

This new medication will also benefit people who have had a heart attack and stroke who, despite benefitting from the treatments currently available, still can’t reduce their cholesterol from a dangerously high level.

The patient voice prevailed in this debate, backed with sound clinical advice from the experts on our Medical, Scientific and Research Committee.

NICE have published Technology Appraisal Guidance on its website and available for alirocumab (Praluent) here and evolocumab (Repatha) here.

More about PCSK9s here.

Published June 22nd 2016