Paradigm Shifts in Lipid Lowering - Episode 18

Treatment Decisions and its Relation to Patient Accessibility

May 17, 2021
Keith C. Ferdinand, MD

Tulane University School of Medicine

,
Linda Hemphill, MD

Massachusetts General Hospital

,
Dean Karalis, MD

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

,
Norman Lepor, MD, FACC, FAHA, FSCAI

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

,
Manesh Patel, MD

Duke University School of Medicine

Final thoughts from expert KOLs regarding treatment decisions and how they relate to patient accessibility when manage dyslipidemia.

Norman Lepor, MD, FACC, FAHA, FSCAI: What’s really important—and we’re not here to give advice to the manufacturer of inclisiran—is the reputation a drug develops when it’s brought to the marketplace. It sticks. To Dean’s point, if you look at data published by Seth Baum and others, they found that the utilization of PCSK9 was somewhere about 0.3% of those who were eligible.

What happened was you had the insurance payers creating these incredible speed bumps. It didn’t really matter. The manufacturers of PCSK9 inhibitors cut their price in half. As Dean, Manesh, and Linda have said, the access to the PCSK9 inhibitors has certainly become easier. But the doctors just aren’t interested in prescribing. As far as they’re concerned, it’s a drug that’s very difficult for patients to access. It’s an “expensive” drug. I urge the manufacturer of inclisiran to think the process through, so that when this drug finally comes to market, it is accessible. 

Otherwise, you’re going to have the same issues that we face with PCSK9 inhibitors. Perhaps we need to inject some artificial intelligence into value-based care instead of what seems to be artificial insanity. We need to be able to count on really good algorithms to determine appropriate use for these compounds.

I still have heterozygotes being turned down for PCSK9 inhibitors. It’s insanity out there. What we really need is really good artificial intelligence, not artificial insanity, in terms of making sure these drugs are being used in the appropriate patient at the appropriate time.

Keith C. Ferdinand, MD: Norman, that was a wonderful take-home message. In fact, I’m going to start with Dean, Manesh, and Linda; you’ll be last. Give me a similar take-home message, something you think our audience needs to hear from you. Dean?

Dean Karalis, MD: In secondary prevention, the LDL [low-density lipoprotein] goal is less than 70 mg/dL and probably lower for all our patients. That’s going to require combination therapy, the best statin dose you can get them on, and then other drugs.

If the cost of the medicine is too expensive, then use ezetimibe. For primary prevention, family history, pay attention to risk-enhancing factors in the guidelines and calcium scoring. That’s how we can get these patients treated earlier, so we’re not in the situation where they’ve already had events and you’ve got to be that much more intensive with regard to their treatment.

Keith C. Ferdinand, MD: Manesh? Then Linda.

Manesh Patel, MD: We’re at the age where we have an explosion of possible therapies for our patients, which is great. The take-home message for me is this isn’t about cardiology or specialty care; it’s about primary care. This is about getting the message and the care pattern and the access to the primary care. That’s how we’re going to affect the population health, by getting these therapies—statin, inclisiran if it comes on the market, PCSK9 as we’ve just heard—into the hands of our primary care doctors and getting them comfortable with having the conversation with patients to get the therapies to them.

Keith C. Ferdinand, MD: That’s a great comment. Linda, you have the last take-home.

Linda Hemphill, MD: I just want to reemphasize lifestyle. Diet is absolutely critical. You can have somebody who is not at goal and they’re eating a terrible diet, and they can have really good results from changing that diet. Using our licensed nutrition folks and getting these people to improve their diet is very much a part of the picture.

Keith C. Ferdinand, MD: Thank you very much. I’m Dr Keith Ferdinand for HCPLive®. We’ve had a rich and informative discussion. Linda, Dean, Norm, and Manesh have given us a wealth of ideas and information, reviewed data, and given some opinions on where we are now with the intent of lowering risk in patients who are high risk, including the FH [familial hypercholesterolemia] patients, patients with ASCVD [atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease].

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Transcript Edited for Clarity

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