Am J Manag Care. 2021 Mar;27(4 Suppl):S63-S69. doi: 10.37765/ajmc.2021.88606.
Hyperlipidemia is a prevalent condition in the United States and a significant contributor to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). ASCVD is a primary cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is a causal factor for the development of ASCVD. Reductions in LDL-C produce a corresponding decrease in ASCVD risk for cardiovascular events. HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, commonly referred to as statins, remain the gold standard of hyperlipidemia treatment. However, statin monotherapy is often ineffective in reducing LDL-C to treatment guideline-recommended levels, especially in high-risk patients with established ASCVD or familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). Statin therapy causes myalgias in 5% to 10% of patients, which may lead to inadequate dose optimization, nonadherence, or inability to take a statin. Clinical guidelines recommend add-on therapy with ezetimibe and proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors when maximally tolerated statin therapy results in suboptimal LDL-C reduction. Hyperlipidemia, especially FH, is associated with substantial clinical and financial burden and is often undertreated. Although undertreatment is partially attributable to failure to optimize statin therapy, a significant portion of patients will require a PCSK9 inhibitor for adequate LDL-C reduction. Despite this, PCSK9 inhibitor utilization rates remain low. Barriers to treatment may include clinical inertia, high out-of-pocket costs, and pharmacy benefit access issues. Managed care pharmacists can help appropriate patients overcome these barriers to PCSK9 inhibitor use and improve the attainment of LDL-C goals and outcomes, especially in high-risk patients with FH or clinical ASCVD.