Nav: Home

PCSK9 inhibitor evolocumab not associated with decline in memory or cognitive function

March 18, 2017

New trial results show that in patients on statin therapy, the addition of evolocumab did not result in a significant change in cognitive function after 19 months of treatment.

A new class of cholesterol lowering drugs, PCSK9 inhibitors, effectively lower LDL cholesterol levels beyond current treatment targets, and new research shows that these lower levels result in a reduction in adverse cardiovascular events, making these drugs attractive treatment options for patients who do not achieve their target cholesterol level with statin therapy alone. However, previous research had raised the possibility that a low level of LDL cholesterol and/or use of statins may negatively impact memory and overall cognition. New research led by the TIMI Study Group at Brigham and Women's Hospital in collaboration with Brown University and the University of Geneva reassuringly finds no association between the use of the PCSK9 inhibitor evolocumab and a decline in memory or cognitive function.

The findings were presented at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions on March 18, 2017. Full results of the study are expected to be published in a peer-reviewed journal in the coming months.

"After an average of 19 months of treatment, our data show that changes in memory and cognitive function were very small and similar between patients treated with evolocumab and those treated with placebo," said Robert Giugliano, MD, SM, a senior investigator in the TIMI Study Group and physician in the Cardiovascular Division at BWH. "These data should reassure physicians and patients who may have had questions about the safety of this drug as it pertains to cognitive impairment."

Using a computer tablet-based tool, researchers assessed the executive function, working memory, episodic memory and psychomotor speed of 1,974 patients who were enrolled in EBBINGHAUS, a substudy embedded in the FOURIER trial. FOURIER was designed to evaluate the impact of evolocumab on cardiovascular outcomes in patients on statin therapy, and found that evolocumab significantly reduced cardiovascular events, with a larger effect the longer patients were treated.

For EBBINGHAUS, patients performed baseline cognitive tests at the time of enrollment, and at six, 12 and 24 months. In the primary analysis, researchers compared changes in the baseline measurement in 1,204 patients who had a cognitive assessment on or prior to the first day they received evolocumab or placebo; a secondary analysis compared results in all 1,974 patients, including 770 patients who had baseline testing after the first dose but no later than the week 12 visit.

"We examined tests of potential adverse effects of the treatment on not only memory but also attention and reaction time that are important aspects of cognition that could seriously impact daily functioning," said Brian R. Ott, MD a physician in the Department of Neurology at Rhode Island Hospital and the Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and member of the EBBINGHAUS study steering committee. "We found no significant differences during the course of the study between the active and placebo treatment groups for any of these cognitive domains.

Results of cognitive testing also did not vary by the achieved level of low-density (bad) cholesterol, including the group who were treated with evolocumab and achieved low-density cholesterol below 25 mg/dL, a level that is far below current treatment goals.

In addition to collecting data from the computer tablet-based test, researchers also collected and analyzed information from self-reported patient assessments of everyday function, and investigator-reported adverse events related to memory and cognition. For both of these measures, there were no significant differences between the treatment and the placebo groups.
-end-
This study was funded by Amgen, Inc., which manufactures evolocumab.

Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) is a 793-bed nonprofit teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a founding member of Partners HealthCare. BWH has more than 4.2 million annual patient visits and nearly 46,000 inpatient stays, is the largest birthing center in Massachusetts and employs nearly 16,000 people. The Brigham's medical preeminence dates back to 1832, and today that rich history in clinical care is coupled with its national leadership in patient care, quality improvement and patient safety initiatives, and its dedication to research, innovation, community engagement and educating and training the next generation of health care professionals. Through investigation and discovery conducted at its Brigham Research Institute (BRI), BWH is an international leader in basic, clinical and translational research on human diseases, more than 3,000 researchers, including physician-investigators and renowned biomedical scientists and faculty supported by nearly $666 million in funding. For the last 25 years, BWH ranked second in research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) among independent hospitals. BWH is also home to major landmark epidemiologic population studies, including the Nurses' and Physicians' Health Studies and the Women's Health Initiative as well as the TIMI Study Group, one of the premier cardiovascular clinical trials groups. For more information, resources and to follow us on social media, please visit BWH's online newsroom.

Brigham and Women's Hospital

Related Memory Articles:

Taking photos of experiences boosts visual memory, impairs auditory memory
A quick glance at any social media platform will tell you that people love taking photos of their experiences -- whether they're lying on the beach, touring a museum, or just waiting in line at the grocery store.
Think you know how to improve your memory? Think again
Research from Katherine Duncan at the University of Toronto suggests we may have to rethink how we improve memory.
Improving memory with magnets
The ability to remember sounds, and manipulate them in our minds, is incredibly important to our daily lives -- without it we would not be able to understand a sentence, or do simple arithmetic.
Who has the better memory -- men or women?
In the battle of the sexes, women have long claimed that they can remember things better and longer than men can.
New study of the memory through optogenetics
A collaboration between Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Harvard University pioneers the increase of memory using optogenetics in mice in Spain.
Peppermint tea can help improve your memory
Peppermint tea can improve long-term and working memory and in healthy adults.
A new glimpse into working memory
MIT study finds bursts of neural activity as the brain holds information in mind, overturns a long-held model.
Memory ensembles
For over forty years, neuro-scientists have been interested in the biological mechanisms underlying the storage of the information that our brain records every day.
What is your memory style?
Why is it that some people have richly detailed recollection of past experiences (episodic memory), while others tend to remember just the facts without details (semantic memory)?
Watching a memory form
Neuroscientists at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science have discovered a novel mechanism for memory formation.

Related Memory Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...