Praluent (alirocumab): Basics, Side Effects & Reviews
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Praluent (alirocumab)

Praluent (alirocumab)

Basics, Side Effects, Reviews & More

Praluent (alirocumab) is an expensive injectable medication used to treat high cholesterol and lower the risk of heart attack and stroke. It may be a good option for people who have tried a statin medication but are still struggling to lower their cholesterol.

COMMON BRANDS

Praluent

DRUG CLASS

PCSK9 inhibitor

CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE CLASSIFICATION

Not a controlled medication

GENERIC STATUS

No lower-cost generic available

AVAILABILITY

Prescription only

Reviewed by:

Sean Moshrefi, PharmD

Allison Barnes, PharmD

Last reviewed on:

February 14, 2021

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What is Praluent (alirocumab)?

How Praluent (alirocumab) works

Praluent (alirocumab) is a PCSK9 inhibitor that's a monoclonal antibody. It works by limiting the actions of a protein called PCSK9. By blocking the PCSK9 protein in your body, your liver cells are able to remove excess cholesterol. As a result, this lowers the total amount of "bad" LDL cholesterol in your blood.

What is Praluent (alirocumab) used for?

  • High cholesterol
  • Inherited condition of high cholesterol (heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia)
  • Lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and certain types of chest pain conditions (unstable angina)

Typical dosing for Praluent (alirocumab)

The recommended starting dose is 75 mg once every 2 weeks given subcutaneously (under the skin) in the stomach, thigh, or upper arm. For people who prefer less frequent dosing, you can take 300 mg once every 4 weeks (monthly) in the stomach, thigh, or upper arm.

Frequently asked questions about Praluent (alirocumab)





Pros and cons of Praluent (alirocumab)

Pros

Thumbs UpWorks well to lower bad cholesterol in people with heart problems due to plaque in their arteries or people who have genetic disorders that cause high cholesterol

Thumbs UpCan help lower the risk of heart attack or stroke

Thumbs UpOnly needs to be used either every 2 weeks or once a month

Thumbs UpMay help lower your cholesterol levels if you haven't had success lowering your cholesterol with other medications

Thumbs UpMay be good for people who have side effects from statins

Thumbs UpAvailable as an easy-to-use pre-filled pen (autoinjector) or pre-filled syringe

Cons

Thumbs DownOnly available as an injection

Thumbs DownMight be hard to get from every pharmacy; not all pharmacies carry it

Thumbs DownCompared to statins, long-term side effects aren't fully known

Thumbs DownMust be kept in the refrigerator

Thumbs DownCan be pretty expensive

Pharmacist tips for Praluent (alirocumab)

Capsule IconPraluent (alirocumab) is injected into the fatty part of the skin on top of your thigh, belly area, or upper arm.

Capsule IconContinue to take your other heart medications (like statins) while using Praluent (alirocumab), unless your provider tells you otherwise.

Capsule IconStore Praluent (alirocumab) in the refrigerator, but let it come to room temperature for at least 30 to 40 minutes before using it. This will make the injection feel more comfortable.

Capsule IconTo give the 300 mg dose, give two 150 mg injections at the same time at 2 different injection sites.

Capsule IconYou should change where you inject each time you use the medication to avoid scarring.

Capsule IconMake sure to look at the medication closely before using it. If the solution has changed color or has particles in it, you shouldn't use it.

Capsule IconIf you have missed your dose and aren't sure how to restart it, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Capsule IconLet your healthcare provider know if you are pregnant, planning on becoming pregnant, or breastfeeding while using this medication.

Prices for Praluent (alirocumab) start at just $371.69 with a GoodRx coupon. They’re fast, easy-to-use and free!

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What are the side effects of Praluent (alirocumab)?

With any medication, there are risks and benefits. Even if the medication is working, you may experience some unwanted side effects.

Warning Small Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Allergic reaction

Caution Small The following side effects may get better over time as your body gets used to the medication. Let your doctor know immediately if you continue to experience these symptoms or if they worsen over time.

Common side effects

  • Symptoms of the common cold (11%)
  • Redness, itching, swelling, pain, or tenderness at the injection site (7%)
  • Flu or flu-like symptoms (6%)

Source: FDA

The following side effects have also been reported:

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • signs and symptoms of infection like fever or chills; cough; sore throat; pain or trouble passing urine
  • signs and symptoms of liver injury like dark yellow or brown urine; general ill feeling or flu-like symptoms; light-colored stools; loss of appetite; nausea; right upper belly pain; unusually weak or tired; yellowing of the eyes or skin

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

What are the risks and warnings for Praluent (alirocumab)?

Praluent (alirocumab) can cause some serious health issues. This risk may be even higher for certain groups. If this worries you, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about other options

Severe allergic reaction

Praluent (alirocumab) can cause serious allergic reactions. If you notice a rash, hives, swelling of the face, lips, throat or tongue, or have trouble breathing after injecting Praluent (alirocumab), stop using it and get medical help right away.

How much does Praluent (alirocumab) cost?

There is currently no generic for Praluent (alirocumab), so it can be expensive, even with insurance. GoodRx coupons, copay cards and patient assistance programs may help lower the cost.

Lowest GoodRx Price
Praluent (brand)

$371.69

View Prices & Coupons

Pricing based on most commonly-filled versions: 1 cartons (2 pens) of Praluent 75mg/ml

What are alternatives to Praluent (alirocumab)?

There are a number of medications that your doctor can prescribe in place of Praluent (alirocumab). Compare a few possible alternatives below.

Praluent (alirocumab)
Drug Class:PCSK9 inhibitor

$371.69

lowest GoodRx price

View Prices
Repatha (evolocumab)
Drug Class:PCSK9 inhibitor

$471.31

lowest GoodRx price

View Prices

What is the latest news about Praluent (alirocumab)?

Medications Besides Statins for Lowering Cholesterol
Medications Besides Statins for Lowering Cholesterol

For years, statins have been the drug of choice when it comes to treating high cholesterol, and that remains the case today. That means they’re usually the first medication providers will consider when recommending a cholesterol-lowering treatment.  But a small percentage of people don’t do well with statins, meaning the drugs just aren’t enough, or ...

90+ Medications To Be Dropped by Insurance in 2019
90+ Medications To Be Dropped by Insurance in 2019

Every year, insurance plans update the list of drugs that they cover, also known as their formulary. That means that some drugs covered this year won’t be covered next year. (In fact, more and more drugs are excluded from formularies each year.) And drugs that are new to the market might be covered soon. If ...

New Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs Now Approved
New Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs Now Approved

In July 2015, Praluent (alirocumab) was approved by the FDA as the first drug in a new class known as PCSK9 inhibitors. It was joined by Repatha (evolocumab), which received approval on August 27, 2015. These new injectable medications are the first approvals in a long time that may be as effective as statins—or better—at lowering cholesterol. For now, Praluent is ...

New Cholesterol Medications Coming Soon
New Cholesterol Medications Coming Soon

Update August 2015: Praluent (alirocumab) and Repatha (evolocumab) have both been approved by the FDA. See more information here. If you have high cholesterol you likely take a statin medication (atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin (Zocor), Crestor) to help you manage it. Statins have been the mainstay of treatment for high cholesterol since their initial approval in the late 1980s—and recent ...

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