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Familial Hypercholesterolemia: Etiology, Diagnosis and New Treatment Options

[ Vol. 20 , Issue. 40 ]


Ioanna Gouni-Berthold and Heiner K. Berthold   Pages 6220 - 6229 ( 10 )


Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a common genetic disorder that presents with robust increases in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and can lead to premature cardiovascular disease. There are heterozygous and homozygous forms. The diagnosis is usually made based on blood cholesterol levels, clinical signs and family history. Genetic testing can be used to confirm the diagnosis. Effective lowering of LDL-C in FH can prevent cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, however, the disease remains greatly underdiagnosed. The mainstay of pharmacologic therapy in FH patients is high-dose statins, which are often combined with other lipidlowering agents. The homozygous form is mainly treated with lipid apheresis. Guideline-recommended target levels of LDL-C are often not reached, making new treatment options desirable. Four classes of newer lipid-lowering drugs offer promising advances in treating FH, namely the apolipoprotein-B synthesis inhibitors (mipomersen), the microsomal transfer protein inhibitors (lomitapide), the cholesterol ester transfer protein inhibitors (anacetrapib, evacetrapib) and the proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 inhibitors (evolocumab, alirocumab). In this review, the available evidence regarding the use of these drugs in patients with FH is discussed, with particular focus on their efficacy and safety.


Familial hypercholesterolemia, cholesterol, PCSK9, alirocumab, evolocumab, mipomersen, lomitapide.


, Center of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Preventive Medicine (ZEDP), University of Cologne, Kerpener Str. 62, 50937 Cologne, Germany.

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