(FILES) In this file photo taken on Dec 4, 2017 the logo of French multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi is pictured on a screen at the company's Val de Bievre Campus, at its headquarters in Gentilly, near Paris. The anti-cholesterol drug Praluent (alirocumab), made by France's Sanofi Pharmaceuticals, is linked to a 15 percent lower risk of major cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke, a study said March 10, 2018. Alirocumab was also associated with a 15 percent reduction in death from any cause, marking the first evidence that this relatively new class of drugs, called PCSK9 inhibitors, may extend lives. (AFP PHOTO / ERIC PIERMONT)

MIAMI: The anti-cholesterol drug Praluent (alirocumab), made by France's Sanofi Pharmaceuticals, is linked to a 15 percent lower risk of major cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke, a study said Saturday.

Alirocumab was also associated with a 15 percent reduction in death from any cause, marking the first evidence that this relatively new class of drugs, called PCSK9 inhibitors, may extend lives.

The benefit was even greater among those with stubbornly high "bad," or LDL cholesterol, above 100 mg/dL. That group saw a 29 percent reduction in death from any cause after taking the drug for two years.

Praluent is part of a relatively new class of drugs called PCSK9 inhibitors which can dramatically lower cholesterol, and may work even better than statins, the traditional first line of treatment.

Last year, researchers reported similar results for a different PCSK9 inhibitor called Repatha (evolocumab), made by Amgen Pharmaceuticals, which also cut the risk of heart attack, stroke, and hospitalization for blocked arteries by 15 percent.

"Now that we have two trials that consistently show benefits from PCSK9 inhibitors, and given the mortality benefit that we are reporting here for the first time, I think these results may change the equation for these drugs," said Philippe Gabriel Steg, chief of cardiology at Hopital Bichat in Paris and co-chair of the study.

"We're not just talking about preventing nonfatal events such as heart attacks but actually preserving life."

The findings described Saturday at the American College of Cardiology conference in Orlando, Florida, were based on an international trial of nearly 19,000 people randomly assigned to either alirocumab or a placebo. - AFP

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