North Texas

New Cholesterol Drug Impacts North Texas

Doctors in Plano say they've seen promising results in the use of a new drug called Repatha, a long-acting cholesterol medicine shown to cut the risk of having a heart attack or some other serious problems by 15 to 20 percent.

The makers of the drug released the results of its own study last week.

Dr. Marc Shalek, cardiologist at Legacy Heart Center in Plano, is a study investigator and has been using it on his patients for the duration of the study.

"We’ve known for 20 years that using the class of medicines that’s called the statin has done a very fine job of reducing future events like strokes and heart attacks, but these events still occur," said Shalek. "This is very exciting, very great news for our patients, that we have another medicine to be able to offer people to avoid those events."

Amgen's Repatha, is given as a shot once or twice a month and is part of a novel class of medicines that drop LDL to unprecedented levels.

Its cost, however, is more than $14,000 a year, though Shalek expects the cost to decrease in time.

"This is not a medicine for every patient. This is a medicine for patients who are deemed to be at high-risk for future heart events. These are patients who already have established heart disease or have had a stroke in the past," said Shalek.

That includes patients like Herb Tanzer of Plano.

Tanzer was at risk of a heart attack despite statin medication, six stents and a quadruple bypass.

In addition with his statin, Repatha helped lower his bad cholesterol level from 150 to 19.

"That's way beyond incredible," said Tanzer.

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