Praluent is a prescription medicine called a lipid-protein receptor agonist. It lowers LDL-C (“bad” cholesterol) by stimulating the body to use it more efficiently and by targeting it for removal from the body. Praluent does not currently have a stand-alone indication in the U.S; instead, it can only be used as an adjunct to diet and statin therapy for adults with very high triglyceride levels (>500 mg/dL) and documented atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), type 2 diabetes, or risk of developing ASCVD within 10 years.

This article explains how praluent works and its possible side effects, side effects that are rare but important to know about before taking this drug:

How Praluent Works?

Praluent Injection

Praluent works by binding to the LDL receptors in the liver, spleen, and kidneys. The drug binds to these receptors and stimulates them to take more LDL cholesterol out of the bloodstream. Praluent also lowers levels of triglycerides, another type of blood fat, and increases HDL cholesterol.

Praluent contains an antibody that is designed to block the process that causes blood clots. The chemical makeup of the drug is designed to keep it from breaking down too quickly in the blood. This way, it stays in the body longer and has time to do its job.

Side Effects of Praluent

In clinical studies, the most common side effects were mild and included headache (3%), pain (1%), and colds (1%). Other side effects occurred but were rare. They include bleeding problems, allergic reactions, rash, and swelling. Praluent may increase the risk of blood clots, especially in people who have had blood clots in the past.

This is why you should let your doctor know if you have a family history of blood clots. Praluent also has the potential to cause other side effects, including swelling of the legs or arms, weight gain, and high blood pressure. Praluent can be taken with or without food.

When to Take Praluent?

Praluent is taken at the same time each day and should be taken with a fat-containing meal. Praluent is taken for 12 weeks for people who have not been able to control their cholesterol with diet and statin therapy. Praluent is taken for 3 months for people who have not been able to control their cholesterol with diet, statin therapy, and ezetimibe. Praluent is not a one-time treatment; it is taken as a daily maintenance therapy.

What to Watch for in Taking Praluent?

Make sure to watch for signs of blood clotting. Let your doctor know right away if you experience swelling in the legs and/or arms, shortness of breath, or chest pain. Praluent increases the risk of blood clots, so you may need to take blood thinner medications to prevent this. Praluent may cause the liver to process certain medications less efficiently. Let your doctor know if you take any other prescription or over-the-counter medicines. Praluent can reduce LDL cholesterol by about 60%.

Bottom Line:

Praluent is an injectable medication that is used in combination with other medications to treat very high cholesterol. It is meant to be taken daily for 3 months, followed by a 5-month break before being used again. The most common side effects are mild, including headache, pain, and colds. Praluent can cause blood clots, so you should see your doctor immediately if you experience swelling in the legs or arms, shortness of breath, or chest pain. Praluent can also affect how your liver processes medications.