Patient Characteristics and Treatment Patterns among Medicare Beneficiaries Initiating PCSK9 Inhibitor Therapy



There is limited real-world evidence around use of proprotein convertase subtilisin-kexin type 9 inhibitors (PCSK9i) among US older adults. This study examined baseline characteristics of fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare beneficiaries newly initiating PCSK9i therapy during the period immediately following market availability.


This cross-sectional study used Medicare claims (2013–2016) to identify 5051 FFS Medicare beneficiaries who filled ≥ 1 PCSK9i prescription between August 2015 and December 2016. We analyzed patient demographics, clinical characteristics, and baseline healthcare expenditures in the 12-month period prior to PCSK9i initiation, for these beneficiaries.


Most beneficiaries initiating PCSK9i were female (57%), < 75 years of age (61%), white (89%), and lived in metropolitan areas (83%). At baseline, these PCSK9i initiators had 6 chronic conditions on average, with conditions such as hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and ischemic heart disease being most prevalent. Approximately 88% had a diagnosis of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), and 14% experienced acute cardiovascular events during the 12-month baseline period. Use of any statin and/or ezetimibe ranged from 54 to 76% in the 6-month and 24-month baseline period. Their total annual Medicare expenditures averaged US$17,552, of which most were attributable to ambulatory care and prescription use, in the 12-month baseline period.


High burden of cardiovascular conditions and prescription expenditures at baseline were common among FFS beneficiaries initiating PCSK9i therapy. These findings suggest that physicians prescribe PCSK9i to elderly patients at high risk for adverse cardiovascular events. Considering the evolving treatment landscape, PCSK9i utilization might increase in Medicare.

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Funding for this research was provided by Amgen Inc. to Tufts Medical Center.

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Correspondence to Xue Feng.

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Authors XF, FB, and PJL report no conflict of interest. Authors PBR and MH are employees of Amgen Inc. and own Amgen stock options.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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Feng, X., Berklein, F., Rane, P.B. et al. Patient Characteristics and Treatment Patterns among Medicare Beneficiaries Initiating PCSK9 Inhibitor Therapy. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther (2020).

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  • PCSK9i
  • LDL-C
  • Medicare beneficiaries
  • Lipid-lowering therapy