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#GPnews: New annual cholesterol-lowering jab ‘could replace statins’



15:15 According to research released today, 93% of pharmacy staff believe patients don’t understand the impact of not adhering to their medication regime.

They say patients are distracted when collecting or ordering their prescriptions, which means they miss key information about dosage and the importance of taking their medicines regularly – many being distracted by mobile phones, or children.

The vast majority of pharmacy staff said GPs and pharmacists should work more closely on patient medication reviews, and three quarters said GPs and pharmacists should be involved in patient conversations about adherence, said the report from Omnicell UK.

09:45 Human trials are set to begin for a new injectable drug that scientists think could reduce cholesterol levels by half. The upshot is that the jab could be required just once every year, compared with statin tablets, which patients need to take daily

In tests on genetically modified mice, the AT04A vaccine triggered antibodies that targeted the enzyme PCSK9, which acts as a blocker for clearing LDL cholesterol from the blood, reports the Guardian.

Dr Gunther Staffler, researcher and chief technology officer at the Austrian biotech company AFFiRis, which developed the vaccine, said that ‘levels of cholesterol were reduced in a consistent and long-lasting way, resulting in a reduction of fatty deposits in the arteries and atherosclerotic damage, as well as reduced arterial wall inflammation’.

He added: ‘If these findings translate successfully into humans, this could mean that, as the induced antibodies persist for months after a vaccination, we could develop a long-lasting therapy that, after the first vaccination, just needs an annual booster. This would result in an effective and more convenient treatment for patients, as well as higher patient compliance.’

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