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How does Praluent work?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on June 13, 2023.

Official answer


Praluent (alirocumab) works by inactivating a protein in the liver called proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin 9 (PCSK9). It is classified as a PCSK9 inhibitor.

PCSK9 blocks the receptors that transport low density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad cholesterol) into the liver for metabolism (breakdown). Without these receptors, more LDL remains in the blood. So, by blocking PCSK9, more receptors are available to capture the bad LDL cholesterol for breakdown and removal from the blood. Lowering the LDL in the blood is better for the heart and can help to reduce the incidence of severe heart disease.

Praluent (alirocumab) is approved:

  • for the treatment of a genetic form of high cholesterol passed down through families (heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia)
  • for patients with heart disease to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and certain types of chest pain conditions (unstable angina) requiring hospitalization.
  • to be used in addition to other LDL cholesterol lowering therapies in adults with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH) to reduce LDL. HoFH is a rare genetic condition passed down through families that causes severely high cholesterol.

Praulent is given as a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection and comes as a pre-filled pen or pre-filled syringe. Your healthcare provider will teach you or your caregiver how to inject this medicine so you can use it at home.

Praluent is injected every 2 weeks OR every 4 weeks (monthly). Your healthcare provider will tell you your dose and schedule.

In studies, the most common side effects with Praluent were nasopharyngitis (common cold symptoms), injection site reactions and influenza (the flu).

This is not all the information you need to know about Praluent (alirocumab) for safe and effective use and does not take the place of talking to your doctor about your treatment. Review the full Praluent information here, and discuss this information and any questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider.


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