Last week, we introduced two hypothetical patients, Sheryl and Bill, who are working to get their cholesterol levels under control. Today we highlight George and Betty. George is able to control his cholesterol with better adherence to his statin therapy. In contrast, Betty struggles to control her cholesterol level since she was forced to discontinue her statin therapy due to side effects (i.e., muscle pain and aches). These stories illustrate the different tools patients and physicians can use to bring down cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of dangerous cardiovascular events. They also show the unmet medical need that remains and how important new treatment options could be for some patients.
A patient like George can control cholesterol through better adherence
Over the years, George’s cholesterol level gradually crept up. His doctor started him on a statin therapy and advised he increase his physical activity and adopt a healthier diet. George leads a busy life filled with activities with his grandchildren. Constantly caring for others, he often has trouble remembering to take care of himself. Sometimes he doesn’t fill his statin prescription and often forgets to take his medicine. George eventually suffers a heart attack, landing him in the hospital. While it isn’t a serious heart attack, the ordeal puts his family through quite a scare. Determined to stay alive and healthy for his wife, children and grandchildren, George begins a strict treatment regimen. He works with his wife and pharmacist to devise a plan to ensure he’s taking his statin therapy regularly and begins an exercise routine closely monitored by his doctor. Today, George's cholesterol levels are under control and he's back to his busy, fulfilling life with his family.
A patient like Betty has a significant unmet medical need
For several years, Betty has been managing her cholesterol levels by living a healthy and active lifestyle. Unfortunately she recently broke her hip and although she has recovered, she has lingering musculoskeletal challenges and walks with a slight limp. Betty eats a healthy diet, but she finds it challenging to exercise due to her new disability. At a check-up, she learns her cholesterol levels have increased again. Her doctor prescribes a statin therapy, but she soon starts to experience serious muscle and joint pain. After several months of the pain failing to subside, Betty visits her doctor and he advises switching her to an alternative cholesterol-lowering medicine. Together they devise a treatment plan to monitor her cholesterol levels, but despite her best efforts, she struggles to control her cholesterol. She now places her hope to control her cholesterol in research which may offer her new treatment options.
Read more about fighting high cholesterol at www.fromhopetocures.org/heartdisease
Holly Campbell Holly Campbell is former deputy vice president of public affairs at PhRMA focusing on the cost and value of medicines. Prior to joining PhRMA, Holly worked for large and small public relations firms where she provided strategic communications counsel, media relations and partnership expertise to health care and pharmaceutical clients. In her free time, she enjoys taking barre classes, trying new restaurants and spending time with Boss and Poppy, her rescue pups.