The drug's failure to improve outcomes is a major disappointment, said Dr. Randall Starling, director of heart failure and transplantation at the Cleveland Clinic.
"The treatment of acute heart failure is clearly an area with an unmet need," Starling said. "The majority of patients with shortness of breath and congestion are treated with intravenous diuretics. There is a 10 to 12 percent death rate and a 20 percent readmission rate within 30 days. There is also serious concern among physicians that the treatment may have deleterious effect on kidney function."
But several promising drugs now are in large-scale trials, said Dr. Christopher M. O'Connor, professor of medicine and director of the heart center at Duke University in Durham, N.C. Results of one trial, which has enrolled 7,500 patients, are expected in about a year, while a second trial of another agent may become available in two to three years, he said.
And the last word on tezosentan may not yet have been spoken, Teerlink added.
"This study does not preclude potential studies in the future to assess its effectiveness in a more defined patient population," he said.
There's more on heart failure at the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
SOURCES: John R. Teerlink, M.D., associate professor, medicine, Universiy of California, San Francisco; Randall Starling, M.D., director, heart failure and tranplantation, Cleveland Clinic; Christopher M. O'Connor, M.D., professor, medicine, Duke University, Durham, N.C.; Nov. 7, 2007, Journal of the American Medical Association
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