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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 440-445

Current and emerging treatments for hypercholesterolemia: A focus on statins and proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin Type 9 inhibitors for perioperative clinicians

1 Department of Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, Arizona 85054, USA
2 MedImpact Healthcare Systems, Inc, San Diego CA, USA

Correspondence Address:
Terrence L Trentman
5777 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, Arizona 85054
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-9185.194773

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Statins are a mainstay of hyperlipidemia treatment. These drugs inhibit the enzyme 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase and have beneficial effects on atherosclerosis including plaque stabilization, reduction of platelet activation, and reduction of plaque proliferation and inflammation. Statins also have a benefit beyond atherosclerotic plaque, including anticoagulation, vasodilatation, antioxidant effects, and reduction of mediators of inflammation. In the perioperative period, statins appear to contribute to improved outcomes via these mechanisms. Both vascular and nonvascular surgery patients have been shown in prospective studies to have lower risk of adverse cardiac outcomes when initiated on statins preoperatively. However, not all patients can tolerate statins; the search for novel lipid-lowering therapies led to the discovery of the proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin Type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors. These drugs are fully-humanized, injectable monoclonal antibodies. With lower PCSK9 activity, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) receptors are more likely to be recycled to the hepatocyte surface, where they serve to clear plasma LDL-C. Evidence from several prospective studies shows that these new agents can significantly lower LDL-C levels. While PCSK9 inhibitors offer hope of effective therapy for patients with familial hyperlipidemia or intolerance of statins, several important questions remain, including the results of long term cardiovascular outcome studies. The perioperative effects of new LDL-C-lowering drugs are unknown at present but are likely to be similar to the older agents.

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