What is a healthy target for LDL cholesterol?
Target LDL depends on many factors, including your age, family history, and personal history of cardiovascular disease. For people at intermediate risk, LDL should be lowered by 30% to 50%. For those who have already had a heart attack, target LDL is no more than 70 mg/dl (note: automatic download).
Which non-statin therapies are recommended first?
Five non-statin therapies described in this post aim to help people achieve target LDL goals while minimizing side effects. They may be combined with a statin or given instead of statins.
Each helps lower LDL cholesterol when diet and statins are not sufficient, such as when there is a family history of high cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolemia). But so far, only two options are proven to reduce cardiovascular risk — the risk for heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and other issues affecting the heart and blood vessels.
What it does: Lowers LDL and cardiovascular risk by reducing cholesterol absorption.
How it’s given: A daily pill
Relatively inexpensive and often given with statins.
PCSK9 inhibitors, alirocumab (Praluent) and evolocumab (Repatha)
What it does: A protein called PCSK9 controls the number of LDL receptors on cells. These medicines are monoclonal antibodies against PCSK9 that increase LDL receptors on the liver, helping to clear circulating LDL from the bloodstream.
How it’s given: A shot every two to four weeks
Highly effective for lowering LDL, but expensive and may not be covered by insurance.