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How Closely Should Cholesterol Be Monitored in Someone With an MPN?

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Published on November 22, 2016

Is it recommended that all MPN patients be on a cholesterol-lowering medication?  Dr. Olatoyosi Odenike from the University of Chicago Medical Center responds in this Ask the Expert segment.  Dr. Odenike explains how these two medical issues are separate but have overlapping concerns.

The Ask the Expert series is sponsored through an educational grant to the Patient Empowerment Network from Incyte Corporation.

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Transcript | How Closely Should Cholesterol Be Monitored in Someone With an MPN?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Andrew Schorr:

Dr. Odenike, here's a question we got in from one of our listeners.  Bonnie says, “How closely should cholesterol be monitored for someone with an MPN?  Do you recommend that all MPN patients be on a cholesterol?lowering medicine?” 

Dr. Odenike:

Okay.  I'll take the second part of the question first.  So I do not recommend that all patients with MPNs be on a cholesterol-lowering medicine.  I do recommend, however, that, yes, patients with MPNs should have their cholesterol monitored intermittently.  I make that recommendation based on the fact that, first of all, many of us living in Western countries tend to have high cholesterol.  This can be influenced by diet, of course, and just in terms of good general medical practice, health maintenance for individuals, particularly, you know, middle?aged and beyond it's a good thing to check your cholesterol since that has an influence on heart disease.  And for any disease, you know, having a healthy heart is important to be able to tolerate medications, anything that your doctors may prescribe.  

But beyond that we also know that in some MPNs, for example, you know, I will take primary myelofibrosis as an example, some of the agents that we're using now to treat myelofibrosis, so ruxolitinib, popularly called Jakafi has been associated with an increase in cholesterol levels.  This can be a good thing initially if somebody who is losing weight and whose cholesterol level naturally be lower, much lower than normal, which isn't a good thing either, when they get on Jakafi their weight may improve and associated with that, you know, one can see a rise in cholesterol levels, so it is important to have this checked periodically. 

In terms of general medical practice, once a year or so is a reasonable interval to check cholesterol for the average person.  It may need to be checked more frequently depending on if a cholesterol?lowering medication is prescribed and that is being monitored intermittently. 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.