Observing World Stroke Day: Understanding and Preventing Stroke
Posted: October 30, 2018 | Word Count: 970
The experiences of stroke survivors are threaded with distressing themes, such as slurred speech, sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, and fear at the rapid onset of symptoms. For many, the journey toward recovery involves overcoming daunting physical and emotional challenges, including learning to talk and walk again and a constant fear of another episode.
Since 2009, patient organizations, companies and individuals have observed World Stroke Day, a global effort to raise awareness of stroke and build commitment to reducing the financial and physical burden associated with this life-changing event. This initiative is increasingly important – in the United States, someone has a stroke every 40 seconds.1 In fact, more people are at risk for strokes today than was true just a generation ago.2
“Amgen is proud to work to better understand the risk factors for stroke and educate the public on the warning signs of this potentially devastating condition,” said Paul R. Eisenberg, Senior Vice President, U.S. Medical at Amgen. “Many people do not understand the underlying causes of stroke and the measures they can take to help prevent stroke in themselves or a loved one.”
Defined as a sudden interruption in the blood supply of the brain, most strokes are caused by a blockage of arteries leading to the brain (ischemic stroke). Strokes occur rapidly and require immediate treatment. However, approximately 80 percent of strokes are preventable through better education and steps that can be taken to control the underlying causes.3 Major causes include high blood pressure and high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C or “bad cholesterol”).4
High LDL-C increases the risk of atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque on the walls of the arteries, which can restrict the flow of blood to the brain. Studies have clearly established that lowering LDL-C levels can lower the risk of cardiovascular events, including stroke.4 Many accomplish this through lifestyle behavior modifications, such as diet and exercise, and/or prescription medications, such as statins. For others, these approaches are not enough, leading to elevated LDL-C levels and increased risk of stroke.
Recently, Repatha® (evolocumab) has given people with heart disease, at high-risk for cardiovascular disease who are unable to achieve lower LDL-C through diet, exercise and statin therapy, as another treatment option. When added to statin treatment, Repatha dramatically lowers LDL-C by blocking an enzyme called PCSK9, whose function is to prevent the liver from clearing bad cholesterol from the blood.5
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Repatha® as the first and only PCSK9 inhibitor to prevent heart attacks and strokes, and to prevent the necessity for a stent or open-heart bypass surgery in patients with established cardiovascular disease.5 The most common side effects of Repatha® include: runny nose, sore throat, symptoms of the common cold, flu or flu-like symptoms, back pain, high blood sugar levels (diabetes) and redness, pain, or bruising at the injection site.
Please see additional Important Safety Information below.
“Strokes are irrevocably life-changing, and it’s important that people know their risk and take action,” Eisenberg said. “We hope World Stroke Day reminds people to talk to their doctor about managing cholesterol. When diet and exercise are not enough, there are prescription medicines that may help to reduce the risk of stroke.”
World Stroke Day is an initiative of the World Stroke Organization. This year’s observance will focus on raising awareness of key issues and the needs of stroke survivors and caregivers.
Important Safety Information
Do not use Repatha® if you are allergic to evolocumab or to any of the ingredients in Repatha.
Before you start using Repatha®, tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions, including if you are allergic to rubber or latex, are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. The needle covers on the single-use prefilled syringes and the inside of the needle caps on the single-use prefilled SureClick® autoinjectors contain dry natural rubber. The single-use Pushtronex® system (on-body infusor with prefilled cartridge) is not made with natural rubber latex.
Tell your healthcare provider or pharmacist about any prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements you take.
What are the possible side effects of Repatha®?
Repatha® can cause serious side effects including, serious allergic reactions. Stop taking Repatha® and call your healthcare provider or seek emergency help right away if you have any of these symptoms: trouble breathing or swallowing, raised bumps (hives), rash or itching, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, throat or arms.
The most common side effects of Repatha® include: runny nose, sore throat, symptoms of the common cold, flu or flu-like symptoms, back pain, high blood sugar levels (diabetes) and redness, pain, or bruising at the injection site.
Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
These are not all the possible side effects of Repatha®. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information. Call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Approved Use Repatha® is an injectable prescription medicine used:
- in adults with cardiovascular disease to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and certain types of heart surgery.
- along with diet alone or together with other cholesterol-lowering medicines in adults with high blood cholesterol levels called primary hyperlipidemia (including a type of high cholesterol called heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia) to reduce low density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol.
1 AHA. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics, 2017. Available at: https://healthmetrics.heart.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Heart-Disease-and-Stroke-Statistics-2017-ucm_491265.pdf. Accessed November 9, 2017.
2 Brown AF, Liang LJ, Vassar SD, et al. Annals of Internal Medicine. Trends in Racial/Ethnic and Nativity Disparities in Cardiovascular Health Among Adults Without Prevalent Cardiovascular Disease in the United States, 1988 to 2014. 2018.
3 Centers for Disease Control. Preventing Stroke Deaths. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/stroke/. Accessed April 10, 2018.
4 American Heart Association. About Cholesterol. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/AboutCholesterol/About- Cholesterol_UCM_001220_Article.jsp#.Ws4mMi7wapp. Accessed April 10, 2018.
5 Repatha® (evolocumab) Prescribing Information. Amgen.