Everything You Need To Know About The Cholesterol 'Vaccine'



We tell you everything you need to know about this medicine that begins to finance Social Security and that helps lower cholesterol levels in some patients.

Surely in recent days you have heard about the cholesterol 'vaccine', a medication that is used to lower levels and keep them controlled. And having bad cholesterol (LDL) poses a great risk to your health. It is one of the main risk factors for suffering from cardiovascular diseases. In Spain, approximately half of the population has cholesterol levels that exceed the recommendations, that is, levels above 200 mg/dl.

What exactly does this medication consist of?

Does it work for everyone, or is it only administered in special cases? If I fall into the risk group, do I have to pay it or does social security finance it?

What is the cholesterol 'vaccine'?

The active ingredient is Inclisiran, and the trade name of the drug is Leqvio. It has been developed by the pharmaceutical laboratory Novartis, and, as they maintain, "it is the first unique anti-cholesterol drug that can reduce low-intensity lipoprotein (LDL) levels by up to 50%, that is, what is known as 'bad cholesterol'.

According to the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products, this medicine is indicated in adults with primary hypercholesterolemia (heterozygous familial and non-familial) or mixed dyslipidemia (high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides) as a complement to the diet that, as we said, has to be low in fat. In addition, it can be used in combination with a statin and other lipid-lowering treatments (medicines used to lower the level of fat in the body, especially cholesterol and triglycerides) in patients who cannot achieve their goals with the maximum dose of a statin.

How does the cholesterol vaccine work?

The cholesterol vaccine aims to stimulate the immune system to recognize and attack specific proteins associated with cholesterol regulation. The primary target is a protein called PCSK9, which plays a crucial role in regulating LDL cholesterol levels. By generating an immune response against PCSK9, the vaccine can reduce the number of these proteins in the body, ultimately leading to a decrease in LDL cholesterol.

Potential Benefits of the Cholesterol Vaccine

a. Lowering Cholesterol Levels: The most apparent benefit of the cholesterol vaccine is its ability to significantly reduce LDL cholesterol levels, which can help lower the risk of heart disease and related health issues.


b. Long-lasting Effects: If successful, the vaccine may offer long-lasting cholesterol reduction, potentially reducing the need for daily cholesterol-lowering medications.


c. Fewer Side Effects: Unlike some cholesterol medications that can have adverse side effects, the cholesterol vaccine may have a more favorable safety profile.

Current State of Research and Development

As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, research and development of the cholesterol vaccine were in the experimental stages. Promising results had been seen in early trials, but the vaccine had not yet received approval for widespread use. It's essential to consult the most recent medical literature or your healthcare provider for the latest updates on the development and availability of the cholesterol vaccine.

Considerations and Future Outlook

While the cholesterol vaccine shows significant promise in the field of cardiovascular health, several factors need to be considered, including its effectiveness, long-term safety, and accessibility. Patients with high cholesterol should continue to follow their healthcare provider's recommendations for managing their condition, which may include lifestyle changes and existing medications.

It can also be used independently or in combination with other lipid-lowering treatments in patients who are intolerant to statins or for those for whom statins are contraindicated.

Benefits of this drug for cholesterol

As Dr. Carmen Jodar, family doctor, explains to us, "this drug is indicated mainly for patients at high risk of suffering a cardiovascular event such as a stroke or myocardial infarction, such as patients who have already suffered one or people who have a family problem of hypercholesterolemia and pose a greater risk of presenting either of these two events.

In this sense, it is important to keep in mind that patients receiving oral cholesterol treatment often forget to take the pills and do not complete the treatment well, so it is not as effective as it should be. Furthermore, just because a drug lowers cholesterol does not exempt us from failing to take care of ourselves; that is, people must always take care of their diet, do physical exercise, and ask for help if necessary to quit smoking, since self-care of our health is in our hands," recalls Dr. Jodar.

How is Inclisiran administered?

It is administered as a single subcutaneous injection in an initial dose, another after 3 months, and thereafter every 6 months.

Instead of applying this treatment to the abdomen, upper arm, and thigh, however, it is important to note that injections should not be performed in areas of the skin that have active diseases or wounds, such as sunburn, rashes, inflammations, or skin infections.

Each 284 mg dose of this medication is administered using a single-use, prefilled syringe. The administration of Inclisirán is planned to be carried out by a health professional, thus guaranteeing safe and effective care.

Is this cholesterol medicine for me?

Due to the high price of Inclisiran, the prescription will be limited to patients who, despite following other treatments and maintaining a healthy lifestyle in terms of diet and exercise, are unable to reduce their bad cholesterol levels below 100 mg/dl.

As we said, it is essential that 'candidate' patients receive this medication, follow a low-fat diet, and engage in regular physical activity.

What are the secondary effects?

Like all drugs, this one can also have side effects. It is not exempt from some risks. That is why the indication is always given by a professional and "must always exceed the benefit that is intended to be achieved over the risk assumed by the treatment," concludes Dr. Carmen Jodar.


The cholesterol vaccine represents a cutting-edge approach to managing cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease. Although it holds considerable potential, it's essential to stay informed about the latest developments in this field and consult with healthcare professionals for personalized guidance on cholesterol management. As research and clinical trials progress, we may witness a new era in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

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