If you have certain forms of high cholesterol, your doctor may also recommend Repatha. It’s used in specific situations for people with this condition.
Repatha is a medication that’s prescribed for adults, and in some cases, for children too.
To learn more about Repatha’s uses, see the “What is Repatha used for?” section below.
You’ll take Repatha as an injection under your skin.
Repatha contains the active drug evolocumab, which is a biologic medication. Biologics are made from parts of living organisms.
Repatha isn’t available in a biosimilar form. (Biosimilars are like generic drugs. But unlike generics, which are made for non-biologic drugs, biosimilars are made for biologic drugs.) Instead, evolocumab comes only as the brand-name drug Repatha.
Read on to learn more about Repatha’s uses, dosing, and side effects.
Like most drugs, Repatha may cause mild or serious side effects. The lists below describe some of the more common side effects that Repatha may cause. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.
How long Repatha’s side effects last may depend on which side effects you’re having. And it may differ for each person. Talk with your doctor about how long you should expect side effects of the drug to last.
Keep in mind, side effects of a drug can depend on:
- your age
- other health conditions you have
- other medications you take
Repatha’s side effects might also differ slightly depending on the condition you’re taking it to treat.
Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the potential side effects of Repatha. They can also suggest ways to help reduce side effects.
Mild side effects
Here’s a short list of some of the mild side effects that Repatha can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or read Repatha’s patient information.
Mild side effects of Repatha that have been reported include:
- upper respiratory infection, such as influenza (the flu) or the common cold
- urinary tract infection (UTI)
- reactions at Repatha injection sites, such as bruising, redness, or pain
- back pain
- joint pain
- muscle pain*
Mild side effects of many drugs may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if they become bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
* For more information about this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.
Serious side effects
Serious side effects from Repatha can occur, but they aren’t common. If you have serious side effects from Repatha, call your doctor right away. However, if you think you’re having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or your local emergency number.
Serious side effects of Repatha that have been reported include:
* For more information about this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.
Side effect focus
Learn more about some of the side effects Repatha may cause.
Increased blood sugar levels, which may lead to diabetes
Increased blood sugar levels were one of the most common side effects in people taking Repatha during studies.
Most people in these studies also took Repatha with a statin drug such as atorvastatin (Lipitor). According to the
Symptoms of high blood sugar level can include:
What might help
If you already have high blood sugar levels or diabetes, be sure to tell your doctor before starting Repatha. Also, tell them if you’re currently taking a statin.
You may want to watch for symptoms of high blood sugar while you’re taking Repatha. Tell your doctor if you develop any of these symptoms during treatment.
Also, your doctor may recommend that you check your blood sugar level to see if it’s high during Repatha treatment. Or they may check the level for you at your appointments.
If you have any questions or concerns about your blood sugar levels while you’re taking Repatha, talk with your doctor.
You may experience muscle pain with Repatha. This side effect of the drug wasn’t common during studies. But it did happen in some people.
What might help
If you’re having muscle pain during treatment with Repatha, talk with your doctor. They may be able to help you determine what’s causing your pain. And they can recommend the best way to treat it.
Some people may have an allergic reaction to Repatha.
Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:
- skin rash or hives
- eczema (a condition that causes patches of itchy or inflamed skin)
- flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. They can also include swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause trouble breathing.
Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Repatha. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.
Costs of prescription drugs can vary depending on many factors. These factors include what your insurance plan covers and which pharmacy you use.
To find current prices for Repatha in your area or the cost without insurance, visit GoodRx.com.
Repatha financial support or coupon
If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription or ways to lower its cost, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also visit the Repatha manufacturer’s website to see if they have support options.
At this time, the drug’s manufacturer doesn’t offer a coupon for their drug. But they do provide a copay card that can help reduce its cost.
Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Repatha that’s right for you. Below are commonly used dosages, but always take the dosage your doctor prescribes.
Form and strengths
Repatha comes as a solution that’s injected under your skin.
It’s available as prefilled, single-dose:
- SureClick autoinjectors, which deliver doses over 15 seconds
- Pushtronex systems, which deliver doses over 5 minutes
For more details about these three options for Repatha, check out the manufacturer’s webpage.
Repatha prefilled syringes and SureClick autoinjectors come in one strength: 140 milligrams per milliliter (mg/mL). Single-dose Pushtronex systems also come in one strength: 420 mg/3.5 mL.
You’ll inject doses of Repatha at a dosing frequency of either:
- once every 2 weeks, or
- once each month
Talk with your doctor about the dosing schedule that’s best for you.
Questions about Repatha’s dosage
Here are some common questions related to Repatha’s dosage.
- What if I miss a dose of Repatha? If you miss a dose of Repatha, take it as soon as possible as long as it’s within 7 days of the missed dose. If it’s more than 7 days since your missed dose and you usually take a dose every 2 weeks, skip the missed dose. Then continue on with your normal schedule. If it’s more than 7 days since your missed dose and you take a dose once every month, inject the dose as soon as you remember. Then begin a new dosing schedule each month from the date that you inject. If you missed your dose and you don’t know when to take your next dose, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They’ll be able to recommend the best time for you to take your next dose.
- Will I need to use Repatha long term? How long should I take Repatha? Repatha is usually prescribed as a long-term treatment. If this medication is working for you, you’ll likely take it long term. Your doctor may recommend that you stop taking Repatha if it no longer works or if you have serious side effects from it.
- How long does Repatha take to work? Repatha will begin working as soon as you take your first dose.In studies, the drug lowered certain cholesterol levels in some people within 4 to 12 weeks.Keep in mind, you may not notice any difference in the way that you feel after starting Repatha. But it’s still important to continue taking the drug, even if you don’t feel its effect.
These drugs are also each given as an injection under your skin. But they have some differences, including their dosages and side effects.
View this article to see a detailed comparison of Repatha and Praluent. Check with your doctor to see which drug is right for you.
Repatha vs. statins
To learn more about how Repatha differs from statins, check out this article. And ask your doctor if you’d like more information.
Find answers to some commonly asked questions about Repatha.
How does Repatha work? What’s its half-life?
Repatha’s mechanism of action (how it works) is to attach itself to a protein in your body called PCSK9.
This protein stops your body from getting rid of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. By blocking PCSK9, Repatha allows your body to get rid of LDL cholesterol more efficiently. This decreases your LDL level.
The half-life of Repatha is between 11 and 17 days. A drug’s half-life is the time it takes your body to clear half of a dose of the drug.
If you have more questions about how this drug works, talk with your doctor. Or check out this video offered by Repatha’s manufacturer.
Is Repatha a statin? Does it treat high triglycerides?
No, Repatha isn’t a statin. Instead, it belongs to a group of drugs called PCSK9 inhibitors. And it works differently than statins do.
Repatha isn’t approved to treat high triglycerides. Rather, it’s approved to lower a type of cholesterol called low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in certain people. It’s also approved to decrease the risk of heart attack, stroke, or the need for heart surgery in certain people. To learn more about Repatha’s uses, see the “What is Repatha used for?” section below.
If you have more questions about Repatha or the conditions it treats, talk with your doctor.
Who makes Repatha? Does the maker offer any reviews on their drug?
Repatha is made by a pharmaceutical company called Amgen. This company offers many patient stories on their website from people who’ve taken Repatha.
You can read through these stories to see if Repatha may be a fit for you. And be sure to talk with your doctor about whether this drug is a good option for your condition.
Does Repatha cause weight loss, hair loss, or pancreatitis?
In some cases, you may take Repatha together with other drugs to treat high cholesterol. It’s possible that the other medications may cause these side effects.
If you have weight loss, hair loss, or pancreatitis while you’re taking Repatha, talk with your doctor. They may be able to find out what’s causing it. And they’ll recommend treatment if needed.
Will Repatha cause liver or kidney problems? Does it lead to increased liver enzyme levels?
Keep in mind, other medications used for cholesterol treatment may cause liver or kidney problems. This includes statin drugs. But Repatha isn’t a statin.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend that you take Repatha together with a statin to treat your cholesterol. In this case, they may monitor your kidney and liver function.
If you have concerns about possible liver or kidney problems with Repatha, talk with your doctor.
How should I store Repatha? Does it need to be refrigerated?
You should store Repatha in the refrigerator, at a temperature between 36°F and 46°F (2°C and 8°C).
You can also store Repatha at room temperature, between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C). But you can only do this for up to 30 days. If you don’t use the drug within 30 days, it should be thrown away.
Repatha should also be protected from light. And you shouldn’t ever freeze or shake Repatha.
If you have more questions about storing Repatha, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may also recommend Repatha. It’s used to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in people with certain types of high cholesterol. Your doctor will likely prescribe Repatha along with certain dietary changes or other cholesterol medications to treat this condition. Specifically, Repatha is used to treat:
- Primary hyperlipidemia (a type of high cholesterol) in adults.
- Heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH) or homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH) in adults and children
ages 10 years and older. (HeFH and HoFH are rare genetic conditions that cause high cholesterol.)
Repatha works to decrease LDL cholesterol by attaching itself to a protein in your body, called PCSK9. Having high cholesterol increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other heart problems. Repatha helps lower your risk for these issues.
If you have more questions about how this drug works, see “How does Repatha work?” in the “What are some commonly asked questions about Repatha?” section above. Also, talk with your doctor or view this video offered by the drug’s manufacturer.
Before you start taking Repatha, talk with your doctor about your treatment plan. Be sure to discuss:
- your overall health
- any other medical conditions you have
- any other medications you take
Your doctor will recommend if Repatha is a safe and effective treatment option for you.
These considerations and others are described below.
Taking medications, vaccines, foods, and other things with a certain drug can affect how the drug works. These effects are called interactions.
Before taking Repatha, be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter types. Also describe any vitamins, herbs, or supplements you use. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you about any interactions these items may cause with Repatha.
Interactions with drugs or supplements
Repatha isn’t known to interact with other drugs or supplements. But it’s still important to tell your doctor about any other medications you’re taking. Be sure to do this before you start Repatha.
Repatha may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Repatha. Factors to consider include allergic reaction, which is described below.
If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Repatha or any of its ingredients, including latex, you shouldn’t take Repatha. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.
Repatha and alcohol
Repatha isn’t known to interact with alcohol. But if you’re taking a statin drug with Repatha, talk with your doctor about whether you can drink alcohol.
Both alcohol and statins can affect your liver. So your doctor may recommend that you avoid drinking alcohol during treatment. Or they may recommend an amount of alcohol that’s safe for you.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
It’s not known if Repatha is safe to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, talk with your doctor before taking Repatha.
Your doctor will explain how you should take Repatha. They’ll also explain how much to take and how often. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.
Repatha comes as a solution that’s injected under your skin.
You’ll likely get your first dose of Repatha at your doctor’s office. In some cases, your doctor may show you how to inject the medication yourself. This way, you or your caregiver can inject your doses at home.
You can view demonstration videos for injecting Repatha on the manufacturer’s webpage. And to see detailed instructions on how to inject the drug, check out these for Repatha:
To learn more about these options of Repatha, see the “What is Repatha’s dosage?” section above.
Repatha injection sites
You can inject Repatha doses into your:
- upper arm
- belly, as long as you stay at least 2 inches away from your belly button
Never inject Repatha into an area that’s bruised, tender, or feels hard.
Taking Repatha with other drugs
For instance, in people with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, Repatha should be used together with other cholesterol medications. (This is a specific type of high cholesterol related to your genetics.)
Examples of statins or other medications that your doctor may prescribe with Repatha include:
- atorvastatin (Lipitor)
- rosuvastatin (Crestor)
- ezetimibe (Zetia)
- fenofibrate (Trilipix)
- niacin (Niaspan)
Talk with your doctor about the treatment plan that’s best for you. They can recommend if you should take Repatha alone or together with other drugs.
Questions for your doctor
You may have questions about Repatha and your treatment plan. It’s important to discuss all your concerns with your doctor.
Here are a few tips that might help guide your discussion:
- Before your appointment, write down questions such as:
- How will Repatha affect my body, mood, or lifestyle?
- Bring someone with you to your appointment if doing so will help you feel more comfortable.
- If you don’t understand something related to your condition or treatment, ask your doctor to explain it to you.
Remember, your doctor and other healthcare professionals are available to help you. And they want you to get the best care possible. So, don’t be afraid to ask questions or offer feedback on your treatment.
Don’t take more Repatha than your doctor prescribes. Using more than this can lead to serious side effects.
What to do in case you take too much Repatha
Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much Repatha. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers, or use its online resource. However, if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.
To learn more about the specific uses of Repatha, see the “What is Repatha used for?” section above.
If you have questions about taking Repatha or you wonder if it’s an option for you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Here are some questions you may wish to ask:
- What side effects might I have with Repatha based on my condition? And how can I treat them?
- How long should I expect side effects from Repatha to last?
- What should I do if I’m having trouble injecting doses of Repatha?
- What should I do if I become pregnant while I’m taking Repatha?
If you’re just starting treatment for high cholesterol, you may wish to read this article for tips on starting treatment. If you have this condition, you can also read about the latest advances in treatment and certain treatment options.
To learn more information about general heart health, sign up for Healthline’s heart health newsletter.
Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.