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NIH launches trial to evaluate anti-inflammatory treatment for preventing heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular deaths
Date:8/21/2012

An international multi-site trial has launched to determine whether a common anti-inflammatory drug can reduce heart attacks, strokes, and deaths due to cardiovascular disease in people at high risk for them. This study is being supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Inflammation, along with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, plays a major role in heart attack and stroke. The Cardiovascular Inflammation Reduction Trial (CIRT) will determine whether treatment with a drug specifically targeting inflammation reduces rates of cardiovascular events among adults who have had a heart attack within the past five years and who also have type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. The trial will randomly assign participants to receive methotrexate given at 10 to 20 milligrams weekly for three to four years or a placebo. Methotrexate is an inexpensive generic drug commonly used at low doses to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It is also used at higher doses to treat certain forms of cancers such as leukemias and lymphomas.

"This trial could have global impact by potentially changing treatment recommendations for millions of individuals with heart disease," said Gary H. Gibbons, M.D., director of the NHLBI.

Each year, over 2 million people in the United States have heart attacks or strokes, and many of them die. "If this generic drug, which is already on the market at low cost, proves effective for reducing risk of heart attacks, stroke, or death, it has the potential for broad public health impact in saving lives and reducing disease," said Paul Ridker, M.D., M.P.H., an expert in inflammation biology as it relates to heart attack and stroke. Dr. Ridker, who will serve as principal investigator for CIRT, is the Eugene Braunwald Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at the Brigham and Women's Ho
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Contact: NHLBI
NHLBI_news@nhlbi.nih.gov
301-496-4236
NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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