Navigation Links
Heart Failure Drugs Put to the Test
Date:11/27/2012

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Nov. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Two new studies examine the effectiveness of medications frequently prescribed for heart failure -- the heart's inability to pump blood properly throughout the body.

For the 5.7 million Americans who suffer from heart failure, shortness of breath and edema (excessive water retention) can hinder normal activities. Advances in medication have dramatically changed the lives of some patients, but the question facing cardiologists is: What drugs should they prescribe for this difficult-to-treat condition?

"Treatment can be difficult because of low blood pressure or kidney disease," said study lead author Dr. Adrian Hernandez. "Other conditions such as depression make it harder for patients to adhere to their medications." And patients with heart failure "are at high risk for mortality or hospitalization for worsening heart failure," he explained. (About 55,000 die of heart failure each year.)

The two studies are published in the Nov. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

One of the new studies looks at the effectiveness of aldosterone antagonists for heart failure patients who have what's called "reduced ejection fraction," which means they have a particularly poor prognosis.

Patients with this condition make up about 40 percent to 50 percent of those with heart failure, said Dr. Justin Ezekowitz, an associate professor with the University of Alberta, Canada, who was not involved with the study.

Aldosterone antagonists are diuretics that help the body get rid of excess water. They include eplerenone (Inspra) and spironolactone (Aldactone).

The new study provides "the real world" perspective on aldosterone antagonists, said Hernandez, an associate professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C.

The study of 5,887 patients, average age 78, found that those who took the drugs after hospital discharge were 13 percent less likely than those not taking the drugs to be readmitted to the hospital for heart failure within three years. However, among this elderly population the drug didn't appear to improve their risk of death or readmission for heart problems in general.

"These drugs look like they're useful, but we have to be careful before prescribing these medications in a general group of patients," said Ezekowitz. "At this point, we haven't shown that you absolutely should start these drugs."

Those who take these drugs face a risk of high potassium levels and should have their potassium and kidney function monitored, Ezekowitz said.

The other study examined drugs known as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) and angiotensin receptor blockers for treating heart failure patients with so-called "preserved ejection fraction." This means their hearts seem to pump properly, at least judging by screening tests, but they're still weaker than they should be, Ezekowitz said.

ACE inhibitors, such as captopril (Capoten) and enalapril (Vasotec), are commonly used to treat high blood pressure. So are angiotensin receptor blockers, such as telmisartan (Micardis) and eprosartan (Teveten).

For the study, the researchers used a Swedish registry to identify more than 16,200 patients, average age 75, and treated about 12,500 of them. In one analysis, the researchers found the risk of death from all causes over a year fell by about 20 percent among patients who took the drugs, but the study authors said more research is needed to confirm the results. (About a quarter of patients died.)

Overall, Ezekowitz said, the evidence so far supports prescribing the drugs in the two studies as first-line treatments in heart failure patients with complicating conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. But in general, he said, "we haven't shown you absolutely should start these drugs."

The drugs in the two studies are relatively inexpensive, he noted.

More information

For more about heart failure, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Justin A. Ezekowitz, MBBCh, assistant professor, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada; Adrian F. Hernandez, M.D., associate professor of medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C.; Nov. 28, 2012, Journal of the American Medical Association


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Witnessing, Experiencing Traumatic Events May Worsen Heart Disease
2. Risk of suicide and fatal heart attack immediately following a cancer diagnosis
3. Cancer Diagnosis May Raise Odds for Suicide, Heart Attack Death
4. In children born with severe heart defect, surgical management has little effect on neuro outcomes
5. Invasive heart test being dramatically overused, Stanford study shows
6. Heart failure patients with diabetes may benefit from higher glucose levels
7. Omega-3 Supplements No Help Against Repeat Heart Trouble: Review
8. EKG Heart Test May Predict Risk in Older Adults
9. Common Blood Pressure Drug Safe for Heart Failure: Study
10. Spouses of Cancer Patients May Have Raised Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke
11. SMART heart eases heart ache, targets cardiac patients emotional well-being
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Heart Failure Drugs Put to the Test 
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 09, 2016 , ... METTLER ... ensure lab personnel have a basic understanding of the techniques they use so ... understanding will help them reduce waste and rework to create a leaner overall ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... Santa Rosa, California (PRWEB) , ... February 09, 2016 , ... ... been rated one of the highest preliminary data vendors in the latest KLAS report, ... 15 years, i2i has led the developing market for population health management (PHM). ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... Bethlehem, PA (PRWEB) , ... February 08, 2016 ... ... announce expanded authorization with BASF Human Nutrition into the Food & Beverage ... BSI has been BASF’s channel partner throughout Canada and USA geographies east ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... ... February 08, 2016 , ... ... packer for pouches, bags, and flow wrapped products at WestPack 2015, February 9-11, ... product manufacturers step up to semi-automatic or fully-automatic case packing with a small ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... Venice, FL (PRWEB) , ... February 08, 2016 ... ... their new community enrichment program serving the greater Venice, FL area, has initiated ... died tragically in a car accident just four days after Christmas. To support ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/9/2016)...  Misonix, Inc. (NASDAQ: MSON ), an ... markets innovative therapeutic ultrasonic products for spine surgery, ... surgery and other surgical applications, today announced financial ... half of fiscal year 2016 ended December 31, ... --> Highlights for the second quarter and ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... YORK, Pa., Feb. 9, 2016  Unilife Corporation ("Unilife" or "Company") ... of injectable drug delivery systems, today announced its financial results for ... 2015). ... Revenue for the ... million in the same period last year.  Cash receipts from customers ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... Feb. 9, 2016  Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq: ... 2015 fourth quarter and full year financial results on ... financial markets.  Company management will host a live audio ... p.m. GMT to discuss fourth quarter and full year ... update and guidance for 2016 financial results. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: