Uses of Alirocumab Injection
Alirocumab injection is used along with diet, alone or in combination with other cholesterol-lowering medications (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors [statins] or ezetimibe [Zetia, in Liptruzet, in Vytorin]), in adults who have familial heterozygous hypercholesterolemia (an inherited condition in which cholesterol cannot be removed from the body normally) to decrease the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (‘bad cholesterol’) in the blood. Alirocumab injection is also used in adults with cardiovascular disease to lower the risk of stroke, heart attack, or serious or life-threatening chest pain. Alirocumab injection is in a class of medications called proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitor monoclonal antibodies. It works by blocking the production of LDL cholesterol in the body, therefore, decreasing the amount of cholesterol that may build up on the walls of the arteries.
Accumulation of cholesterol along the walls of your arteries (a process known as atherosclerosis) decreases blood flow and, therefore, the oxygen supply to your heart, brain, and other parts of your body.
Side Effects of Alirocumab Injection
Alirocumab injection may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- redness, itching, swelling, pain, or tenderness at the injection site
- flu-like symptoms, fever, headache, chills
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using alirocumab injection and call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, and eyes
Alirocumab injection may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before using alirocumab injection:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to alirocumab injection, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in alirocumab injection. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any medical conditions.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using alirocumab injection, call your doctor.
Alirocumab injection comes as a solution (liquid) in a prefilled syringe and a prefilled dosing pen to inject subcutaneously (just under the skin) once every 2 or 4 weeks. Use alirocumab injection at around the same time every 2 or 4 weeks. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use alirocumab injection exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of this medication or use it more often or for a longer period of time than prescribed by your doctor.
After 4 to 8 weeks of therapy, your doctor may increase your dose depending on your response to this medication.
Alirocumab injection helps to control cholesterol levels, but does not cure these conditions. Continue to use alirocumab injection even if you feel well. Do not stop using alirocumab injection without talking to your doctor.
Alirocumab injection comes in prefilled dosing pens and prefilled syringes that contain enough medication for one dose. If your doctor tells you that you need to use more than one pen or syringe for your dose, use the pens or syringes one right after the other into different injection sites. It may take up to 20 seconds to inject the medication. Always inject alirocumab in its own prefilled dosing pen or syringe; never mix it with any other medication. Dispose of used needles, syringes, and devices in a puncture-resistant container; never re-use a prefilled pen or syringe. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about how to dispose of the puncture-resistant container.
You can inject alirocumab injection in your thigh, upper arms, or stomach area, except for the 2-inch area around your navel (belly button) and near your waistline. Use a different spot for each injection. Do not inject into an area where the skin is sore, red, bruised, swollen, sunburned, hard, hot, infected, or injured in any way or into areas with visible veins, scars, rashes, or stretch marks.
Carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions for use that comes with the medication. These instructions describe how to inject a dose of alirocumab injection. Be sure to ask your pharmacist or doctor if you have any questions about how to inject this medication.
Remove the prefilled syringe or prefilled dosing pen from the refrigerator and allow it to warm to room temperature for about 30 to 40 minutes before using it. Do not put the prefilled syringe or prefilled dosing pen back in the refrigerator after it has been warmed to room temperature.
Before you use alirocumab injection, look at the solution in the prefilled syringe or pen closely. The medication should be clear to pale yellow and free of floating particles. Do not shake the prefilled syringe or prefilled dosing pen containing alirocumab injection.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your body’s response to alirocumab injection.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.