611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

Health Choice Integrated Care crisis Line
1-877-756-4090

NurseWise 24-Hour Crisis Line
1-866-495-6735

NAZCARE Warm Line
1-888-404-5530



SEABHS
611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

NurseWise 24-Hr Crisis Line
1-866-495-6735

NAZCARE Warm Line
1-888-404-5530


powered by centersite dot net

Getting Started
Here are some forms to get started. These can be printed and brought with you so that you can pre-fill out some known info ahead of time. More...


Medical Disorders
Resources
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
Researchers ID Microbiome Genes Tied to AsthmaPlasma Rich in Growth Factors May Promote Hair RegenerationBest Practice Advice Issued for Hep B Vaccination, ScreeningIs a Common Shoulder Surgery Useless?NAFLD Linked to Smaller Total Cerebral Brain VolumeSalivary miRNAs Can ID Duration of Concussion SymptomsHigh Salt Intake Impacts Gut MicrobiomeSevere Psoriasis May Make Diabetes Increasingly LikelyNAFLD Linked to Increased Cancer Incidence RateSpinal Cord Stimulation May Reduce Neuropathic PainBrain Glucose Responses Diminish With Diabetes, ObesityMany Health Care Providers Work While SickIntensive BP Control Lacks Benefit in Chronic Kidney DiseaseGulf War Illness, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Are Distinct Disorders: Study'Boomers' Doing Better at Avoiding Eye Disease of AgingAHA: Supervised Exercise Ups 6-Minute Walking Distance in PADAccurate Diagnosis Seen With Photographs of Skin ConditionsModel Predicts Development of Chronic Kidney DiseaseNew Hemophilia Treatment Stems Bleeding EpisodesHealth Tip: If There's a Wildfire NearbyPeanut Patch Found Safe, Effective for Treating AllergiesWhy a Headache Feels So DrainingStaying Active May Lower Odds for GlaucomaHow to Do a Skin Cancer Body CheckCan Treating Gum Disease Keep Blood Pressure in Line?AHA/ACA Present New Blood Pressure GuidelinesAAO: Higher Exercise Intensity Tied to Reduced Risk of GlaucomaAAO: Intranasal Tear Neurostimulator Safe for Dry EyeOutcomes for Atrial Fibrillation Similar With Dabigatran, WarfarinOutbreaks Linked to Drinking Water Mainly Due to LegionellaIs Low-Dose Aspirin Right for You After Surgery?Swings in Blood Pressure Can Pose Long-Term DangersAHA: Acetylcysteine, Sodium Bicarbonate Don't Cut Renal RiskBinge-Watchers, Beware: Long TV Time Poses Clot RiskObesity to Blame for Epidemic of Knee Dislocations, ComplicationsThe Heart Risks of a Desk JobCould Fish Oil, Vitamin D Help Ease Lupus?Smog May Harm Your Bones, TooOverlapping Surgery Appears Safe in Neurosurgical ProceduresAdding Exercise to Compression Therapy Promising for Leg UlcersRisk of End-Stage Renal Disease Low With Type 1 DiabetesHealth Tip: What's Healthy Blood Pressure?'Old' Lungs May Be Good Transplant OptionsHPV Vaccine Linked to Drop in Cases of Rare Childhood DiseaseNeurologic Abnormalities Identified After West Nile VirusSodium Oxybate Promising for Parkinson's, Daytime SleepinessDrop in Incidence of End-Stage Renal Disease Due to DiabetesThese Foods May Help Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis PainWhat Really Works to Fight a Stubborn Cough?West Nile's Long-Term Bite: Impact on Brain May Last Years
Questions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Cancer
Men's Health
Women's Health

Powerful New Cholesterol Med Won't Harm Memory, Easing Concerns

HealthDay News
by By Amy NortonHealthDay Reporter
Updated: Aug 16th 2017

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 16, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Despite some early concerns, a new study suggests the powerful cholesterol drugs known as PCSK9 inhibitors may not cause memory problems or other mental symptoms.

The drugs, which include evolocumab (Repatha) and alirocumab (Praluent), were approved in the United States in 2015. That came after trials showed they can dramatically slash LDL cholesterol (the "bad" kind), including in people with a genetic condition that often causes premature heart disease.

But early findings also hinted at a potential side effect: cognitive problems such as memory lapses and confusion.

The risk was small, though, and it was not clear whether the drugs were actually causing the problems.

Enter the new study. It's the first to actually follow PCSK9 patients over time, looking for new memory problems or other cognitive issues, said lead researcher Dr. Robert Giugliano.

The study involved more than 1,200 patients who were randomly assigned to take either Repatha or a placebo. At the outset, patients took standard tests of memory, planning and other mental skills. They repeated those tests three times over the next two years.

The patients were also asked about any cognitive issues they'd noticed in daily life.

Overall, the study found, no differences surfaced between Repatha patients and those taking the placebo.

The findings should be "reassuring," said Giugliano, a heart disease specialist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Dr. Erin Michos, a cardiologist who was not involved in the study, agreed.

"I do think the findings should provide much reassurance to patients," said Michos, who is associate director of preventive cardiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Still, she said, the patients -- who were 63 years old, on average -- were typically followed for only 19 months.

"I am definitely interested in longer follow-up," Michos said. "We will need to see what happens after 10 years."

A five-year extension study is underway, Giugliano said. The research is being funded by Repatha maker Amgen, Inc.

For now, Michos said she feels "very comfortable" recommending PCSK9 inhibitors to certain "high-risk" patients who can benefit from them.

That includes people with familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic condition that causes very high LDL and, often, early heart disease.

Some other patients might be candidates, too, Michos said. A prime example would be someone with a history of heart attack whose LDL is still higher than desired, despite treatment with standard cholesterol drugs.

Why would PCSK9 inhibitors have any effect on memory and thinking?

According to Michos, there have been theoretical concerns about slashing LDL too much. Cholesterol is a key component of cell membranes, including the sheath that covers brain cells.

But that worry, Michos noted, has been countered by a crucial fact: There is a "blood-brain barrier," and the brain makes its own cholesterol rather than pulling it from the blood.

So even a drastic drop in blood LDL, Giugliano said, should not affect the brain.

Plus, he added, the drug itself is "too big" to get past the blood-brain barrier and affect cholesterol production there.

There are some known downsides to PCSK9 inhibitors, however. They are taken by injection once a month or every two weeks, and people may have pain at the injection site, Giugliano said.

Then there's the price tag, Giugliano noted.

PCSK9 inhibitors cost more than $14,000 a year, according to the American College of Cardiology. Meanwhile, many statins are currently available as cheap generics.

Statins remain the go-to cholesterol drug, Michos stressed.

"I do everything possible to optimize patients on their statins first," she said.

Even when people think they are "statin intolerant" because of side effects, that's often not the case, Michos added.

Sometimes, she said, patients do well if they switch to a lower dose or a different statin.

In other cases, the statin may not be the culprit at all, Michos said. Many people have heard that statins can cause muscle pain, she noted, so they can be quick to blame their medication when body aches strike.

"Much of the time people attribute their muscle symptoms to their statins, when they are due to other causes, such as arthritis or vitamin D deficiency," Michos said.

The study was published Aug. 16 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on treating high cholesterol.