Drugs to Treat Atherosclerosis
Other Drugs for Atherosclerosis continued...
Plant sterols are taken as supplements in pill form or in foods like margarine. Getting plant sterols every day can reduce cholesterol modestly by about 10%.
Lovaza and icosapent (Vascepa) -- both containing omega-3s -- are prescription drugs that can be used with diet to lower high levels of triglycerides.
Alirocumab (Praluent) and evolocumab (Repatha) are included in a new class of drugs called proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors. They are for use by patients who cannot control their cholesterol through diet and statin treatments.
Drugs to Reduce High Blood Pressure
Lowering blood pressure lowers the risk of atherosclerosis and its complications. Diet and exercise alone don't usually bring high blood pressure down to the safe range. Most people with high blood pressure will require medications (usually at least two) to do the job.
There are many classes of high blood pressure drugs that work in a variety of ways. The choice of medicine isn't as important as the result: getting blood pressure down. Blood pressure should always be less than 140 over 90. For people with atherosclerosis, the goal may be below 130 over 80.
Drugs to Reduce the Risk of Blood Clots
Antiplatelets are blood thinners. They make blood less likely to clot, which can prevent heart attacks and strokes. However, antiplatelets don't slow down or reverse atherosclerosis.
Aspirin: Plain old aspirin is actually a powerful blood thinner. A baby aspirin a day reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes by 25% or more.
Clopidogrel (Plavix): Clopidogrel acts similar to aspirin. This drug is useful in preventing clots from forming inside stents placed in the heart's arteries.
Ticagrelor (Brilinta): Ticagrelor is similar to clopidogrel. This drug is less effective if patients take more than 100 milligrams a day of aspirin. A "baby aspirin" contains 81 milligrams of aspirin. An FDA "black box" warning tells doctors about the risk of using higher doses of aspirin along with ticagrelor.
Prasugrel (Effient) : You take this medicine by mouth with or without food, usually once a day or as directed by your doctor. Your doctor may tell you to take it with a low dose of aspirin (usually 81-325 milligrams a day).