AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands - A common drug that is used to treat high blood pressure in the general population has been found to significantly reduce a dangerous and frequently fatal cardiac problem in patients with Marfan syndrome.
Results of the COMPARE (COzaar in Marfan PAtients Reduces aortic Enlargement) study reveal that patients treated with losartan (Cozaar) had a significantly reduced rate of aortic enlargement after 3 years compared to patients who did not receive the treatment.
"Our study is the first large, prospective randomized study to assess the effects of losartan on aortic enlargement in adults with Marfan syndrome, and confirms previous findings in a mouse model," said lead investigator Maarten Groenink MD, PhD from the Departments of Cardiology and Radiology at Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
"We're very excited to see that such a commonly used drug that is not expensive and has a familiar side-effect profile could have a significant effect on this very serious and frightening risk factor for these patients. These findings may change standard clinical management."
Marfan syndrome, a heritable connective tissue disorder, affects 2-3 in 10,000 people. It causes progressive enlargement of the aorta, making it prone to rupture, which can be fatal in more than 50% of cases. Currently, the only effective treatment is prophylactic surgical aortic root replacement.
In addition to lowering blood pressure, the main benefit of losartan is believed to be its interference with the biochemical process that causes aortic enlargement.
To assess this, the COMPARE study included 233 participants (47% female) with Marfan syndrome from all four academic Marfan screening centers in the Netherlands.
Subjects were a mean age of 41 years, 27% had previously undergone prophylactic aortic root replacement, and the majority (73%) were being treated with beta blockers.
A total of 117 subjects were randomized to r
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European Society of Cardiology