Pharmacy Practice News: UMass Medical School pharmacist says providers will wait for more data before prescribing new cholesterol-lowering drugs

June 15, 2016

A UMass Medical School pharmacy expert believes providers will wait for the results of more cardiovascular outcomes trials before prescribing proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors to manage their patients’ cholesterol levels, according to an article in Pharmacy Practice News.

“I have seen fairly limited use of these drugs so far, mainly a handful of patients at very high risk for cardiovascular events,” Mark Tesell, PharmD, BCPS, a clinical consultant pharmacist in UMass Medical School’s Clinical Pharmacy Services unit, told Pharmacy Practice News.

The June 8 article in Pharmacy Practice News reported on a new trial, the GAUSS-3 (Goal Achievement After Utilizing an Anti-PCSK9 Antibody in Statin Intolerant Subjects 3), that indicated PCSK9 inhibitors can significantly lower cholesterol and that a number of patients cannot tolerate statin drugs. Results of the trial were presented at the 2016 American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session & Expo and published in JAMA.

Although the results of the trial “give additional data to (show) that these agents may be an option in statin-intolerant patients,” Tesell told Pharmacy Practice News, “I think the provider community is still likely going to wait and see before using these medications in most patients.” Tesell said providers most likely will decide whether to prescribe the drugs to patients once more cardiovascular outcomes data is available, maybe later this year.

The estimated $14,000 cost for a one-year supply of the drugs was cited in the article as the main issue in the slow use of the drugs by providers.

Tesell presented about PCSK9 inhibitors at Asembia’s 2016 Specialty Pharmacy Summit in Las Vegas in May. Clinical Pharmacy Services is partnering with Asembia, formerly Armada Health Care, to provide enhancements and support on clinical protocols and therapy interventions to the Asembia1 technology platform. The Clinical Pharmacy Services team includes 80 clinical pharmacists, as well as pharmacy associates and operational support staff.

Clinical Pharmacy Services has become a popular partner for organizations seeking solutions to containing pharmacy costs and improving patient outcomes. With its UMass Medical School resources, it is able to provide direct access to clinical support and the latest research, data and trends.

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