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Blood Pressure Drug Does Not Help Those With Atrial Fibrillation
Date:3/9/2011

Avapro or placebo suffered heart failure at about the same rate, but those taking Avapro had a lower rate of hospitalization for heart failure, the researchers said. Also, there was no benefit from the drug among patients with a normal heart rhythm at the start of the study when it came to preventing hospitalization for atrial fibrillation.

The researchers also found more patients taking Avapro had blood pressure that was too low and more had kidney failure than did those receiving a placebo.

"This study demonstrates Avapro, despite a modest reduction in blood pressure, does not prevent recurrent episodes of atrial fibrillation or prevent cardiovascular events overall," Fonarow said. "There were no differences in heart attacks, cardiovascular deaths or deaths from any cause. There were modestly lower rates of hospitalization for heart failure and any cardiovascular hospitalization."

When this new trial is considered together with an earlier trial, it's evident that this class of blood pressure drugs has no effect in preventing episodes of atrial fibrillation in patients with intermittent atrial fibrillation, he added.

"In the absence of other indications, routine use of angiotensin-receptor blockers in patients with atrial fibrillation does not appear to be warranted," Fonarow said.

More information

For more on atrial fibrillation, visit the American Heart Association.

SOURCES: Gregg Fonarow, M.D., spokesman, American Heart Association, and professor, cardiology, University of California, Los Angeles; March 10, 2011, New England Journal of Medicine


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