Repatha side effects and how to avoid them
Repatha is an FDA-approved medication manufactured by Amgen. It is classified as a PCSK9 (proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin type 9) inhibitor and is used to reduce cholesterol levels. While Repatha is generally well tolerated, there are some potential side effects that people should be aware of. The most common side effects of Repatha include upper respiratory tract infections. Less common but more serious side effects can include serious allergic reactions.
Learn more about the side effects of Repatha and what you can do to avoid them.
What is Repatha (evolocumab)?
Repatha is approved to:
- Treat adults with primary hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), including those with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH), alongside a healthy diet and may be used with other LDL-lowering treatments
- Reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems (such as heart attack and stroke) in adults with heart disease
- Treat adults and children aged 13 to 17 years with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH) with a healthy diet and other LDL-lowering treatments to lower cholesterol levels
Repatha works by blocking PCSK9, which means more receptors are available to remove LDL-C (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) from the blood. This results in lower LDL cholesterol levels. LDL-C is sometimes described as bad cholesterol because it collects in the walls of the arteries leading to your heart. HDL (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) is known as good cholesterol because it takes cholesterol away from the heart. Lowering LDL-C cholesterol reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and reduction in blood cholesterol.
Repatha comes in liquid form in prefilled syringes that are given as a subcutaneous injection under the skin in your upper arm, thigh, or abdomen area.
Repatha can also be used as a SureClick autoinjector and as the Pushtronex system, which is a single-use, on-body infusor with prefilled cartridges.
You are advised to read the prescribing information provided with this medicine for the drug information and patient information, and always speak with your healthcare provider for medical advice about any changes to your dose so they can monitor and evaluate your condition.
Repatha side effects
The most common possible side effects of Repatha compared to placebo include:
- High blood sugar
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Upper respiratory tract infection
- Painful back
- Muscle pain
- Injection site reactions
- Influenza (flu)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Repatha can cause more serious side effects, including:
- Serious allergic reactions to the medication – rash, itching skin, trouble breathing or swallowing, hives, large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat
- Diabetes – high blood sugar levels (a common but serious side effect)
If you experience any of these serious side effects, stop taking Repatha and seek medical attention immediately. You are encouraged to report the adverse effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Does Repatha cause hair loss?
Hair loss is not a side effect reported by those using Repatha in clinical trials.
Does Repatha cause fatigue?
Fatigue is not a common side effect of Repatha. Fatigue caused by Repatha can be a symptom of serious side effects such as diabetes or high blood sugar levels.
Can Repatha cause heart problems?
Repatha can cause an increase in blood pressure. You will need to have your blood pressure checked when starting and during treatment with Repatha.
Does Repatha affect the liver?
Repatha does not cause liver-related side effects.
Does Repatha cause weight gain?
Weight gain is not a side effect reported in studies on Repatha.
Does Repatha cause back pain?
Repatha may cause flu or flu-like symptoms, one of which may include back pain.
Do Repatha’s side effects go away?
Mild side effects of Repatha go away within a few days or weeks. Speak to your doctor if you experience more serious side effects that last longer.
Does Repatha have the same side effects as statins?
Repatha belongs to a different class of drugs than statins. It has a different mechanism of action and will also have different side effects.
Repatha warnings & precautions
Repatha isn’t suitable for everyone. Don’t take Repatha if you:
- Are allergic to the active ingredient evolocumab
- Are allergic to any of the other ingredients in Repatha
- Are under 18 years of age to treat cardiovascular disease
- Are under 18 years of age to treat primary hyperlipidemia
- Are under 13 years to treat homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia
Talk to your doctor before taking Repatha if you:
- Have any liver problems
- Are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
- Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed
- Are allergic to latex or rubber, as the needle cover of the prefilled syringe and the prefilled autoinjector contain rubber derived from latex
How to avoid Repatha side effects
The best way to avoid side effects is to take Repatha as directed by your doctor. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully, and do not take more or less than prescribed.
If you experience any side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to recommend ways to help reduce or prevent some of the side effects.
1. Stick to the recommended dosage
Take your prescribed dose of Repatha that has been recommended by your healthcare professional. Do not take more or less than prescribed.
2. Monitor your blood sugar levels
If you have diabetes, it is important to monitor your blood sugar levels closely while taking Repatha. Check your blood sugar levels as directed by your doctor and report any changes to your doctor immediately.
3. Drink plenty of fluids
Drink eight to 10 glasses of water or fluids every day to help prevent dehydration, which can make side effects worse.
4. Don’t skip meals
Eating regular meals and snacks will help to prevent low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia).
5. Check your feet
If you have diabetes, check your feet for any cuts, sores, or redness regularly. Tell your doctor if you experience problems with your feet while taking Repatha.
6. Know the signs and symptoms of Repatha side effects
Signs and symptoms of side effects include upper respiratory tract infections. If you experience these symptoms, speak to your doctor for medical advice.
7. Tell your doctor about all medications you’re taking
Be sure to tell your doctor about all other medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements, as they can interact with Repatha.
8. Get regular medical checkups
It is important to get regular medical checkups and monitor your medical conditions. Your doctor will monitor your condition and may adjust your dose of Repatha as needed.
A medical professional has reviewed this article.
Dr. Jamie Winn received his Doctor of Pharmacy in 2002 from the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Columbia, SC. Jamie is a medical reviewer for NiceRx.