Efficacy and safety of alirocumab vs ezetimibe in statin-intolerant patients, with a statin rechallenge arm: The ODYSSEY ALTERNATIVE randomized trial

J Clin Lipidol. 2015 Nov-Dec;9(6):758-769. doi: 10.1016/j.jacl.2015.08.006. Epub 2015 Aug 29.


Background: Statin intolerance limits many patients from achieving optimal low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) concentrations. Current options for such patients include using a lower but tolerated dose of a statin and adding or switching to ezetimibe or other non-statin therapies.

Methods: ODYSSEY ALTERNATIVE (NCT01709513) compared alirocumab with ezetimibe in patients at moderate to high cardiovascular risk with statin intolerance (unable to tolerate ≥2 statins, including one at the lowest approved starting dose) due to muscle symptoms. A placebo run-in and statin rechallenge arm were included in an attempt to confirm intolerance. Patients (n = 361) received single-blind subcutaneous (SC) and oral placebo for 4 weeks during placebo run-in. Patients reporting muscle-related symptoms during the run-in were to be withdrawn. Continuing patients were randomized (2:2:1) to double-blind alirocumab 75 mg SC every 2 weeks (Q2W; plus oral placebo), ezetimibe 10 mg/d (plus SC placebo Q2W), or atorvastatin 20 mg/d (rechallenge; plus SC placebo Q2W) for 24 weeks. Alirocumab dose was increased to 150 mg Q2W at week 12 depending on week 8 LDL-C values. Primary end point was percent change in LDL-C from baseline to week 24 (intent-to-treat) for alirocumab vs ezetimibe.

Results: Baseline mean (standard deviation) LDL-C was 191.3 (69.3) mg/dL (5.0 [1.8] mmol/L). Alirocumab reduced mean (standard error) LDL-C by 45.0% (2.2%) vs 14.6% (2.2%) with ezetimibe (mean difference 30.4% [3.1%], P < .0001). Skeletal muscle-related events were less frequent with alirocumab vs atorvastatin (hazard ratio 0.61, 95% confidence interval 0.38-0.99, P = .042).

Conclusions: Alirocumab produced greater LDL-C reductions than ezetimibe in statin-intolerant patients, with fewer skeletal-muscle adverse events vs atorvastatin.

Keywords: Clinical trials; Lipid-lowering drugs; Lipoproteins; Monoclonal antibodies; PCSK9.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Azetidines / adverse effects*
  • Azetidines / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Ezetimibe / adverse effects*
  • Ezetimibe / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Safety*


  • Azetidines
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Ezetimibe

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01709513