Efficacy and safety of alirocumab, a monoclonal antibody to PCSK9, in statin-intolerant patients: design and rationale of ODYSSEY ALTERNATIVE, a randomized phase 3 trial

J Clin Lipidol. Nov-Dec 2014;8(6):554-561. doi: 10.1016/j.jacl.2014.09.007. Epub 2014 Sep 19.


Background: Statin intolerance has been a major limitation in the use of statins, especially at higher doses. New effective treatments are needed for lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in patients who cannot tolerate daily statin doses.

Objective: ODYSSEY ALTERNATIVE (NCT01709513) evaluates efficacy and safety of alirocumab, a fully human proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 monoclonal antibody, in patients with well-documented statin intolerance and moderate to very high cardiovascular risk.

Methods: This is a phase 3, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, double-dummy study in statin-intolerant patients. Intolerance was defined as inability to take at least 2 different statins because of muscle-related adverse events (AEs), 1 at the lowest approved starting dose. Patients first received single-blind subcutaneous and oral placebo for 4 weeks, and were withdrawn if they developed muscle-related AEs after the placebo treatment. Continuing patients were randomized (2:2:1 ratio) to alirocumab 75 mg self-administered via single 1 mL prefilled pen every 2 weeks or ezetimibe 10 mg/day or atorvastatin 20 mg/day (statin rechallenge), for 24 weeks. Alirocumab dose was increased to 150 mg every 2 weeks (also 1 mL) at week 12 depending on week 8 LDL-C level. The primary endpoint is percent change in LDL-C from baseline to week 24 by intent-to-treat analysis. Muscle-related AEs were assessed by spontaneous patient reports and clinic queries.

Results: A total of 314 patients have been randomized.

Conclusions: This is the first and only study of a new class of LDL-C-lowering agents in patients selected with a rigorously documented intolerance to statins, using a placebo run-in and statin control arm.

Keywords: Alirocumab; Ezetimibe; Hypercholesterolemia; Muscle symptoms; PCSK9; Phase 3 clinical trial; Statin intolerance; Statin myopathy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / adverse effects
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Atorvastatin
  • Azetidines / administration & dosage
  • Azetidines / adverse effects
  • Canada
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Drug Dosage Calculations
  • Europe
  • Ezetimibe
  • Heptanoic Acids / administration & dosage
  • Heptanoic Acids / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Myalgia / etiology
  • Myalgia / prevention & control
  • Proprotein Convertase 9
  • Proprotein Convertases / immunology*
  • Pyrroles / administration & dosage
  • Pyrroles / adverse effects
  • Risk
  • Serine Endopeptidases / immunology*
  • United States


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Azetidines
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Heptanoic Acids
  • Pyrroles
  • Atorvastatin
  • PCSK9 protein, human
  • Proprotein Convertase 9
  • Proprotein Convertases
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • Ezetimibe
  • alirocumab