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Not All Heart Failure Drugs Boost Survival Equally
Date:1/11/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Over the course of five years, heart failure patients taking the blood pressure drug candesartan stood a higher chance of survival than those taking losartan did, Swedish researchers report.

In fact, 61 percent of those taking candesartan (Atacand) survived, compared with 44 percent of those taking losartan (Cozaar); this difference may be due to differences in the way the drugs work, the study authors noted.

"Heart failure is among our most common causes of death and hospitalization," said lead researcher Dr. Lars H. Lund, an associate professor in the department of cardiology at Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm.

Both drugs belong to an important group of medications known as angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) that decrease mortality and hospitalization in heart failure patients, he added. However, the efficacy of different drugs in this class appears to vary.

"Previously, it was believed that the particular type of angiotensin receptor blocker did not matter," Lund explained. "Here we show that candesartan is associated with less mortality than losartan in heart failure."

The report is published in the Jan. 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

For the study, Lund's group collected data on 5,139 patients. Among these, 2,639 were treated with candesartan and 2,500 received losartan.

The researchers also found that one-year survival for those taking candesartan was 90 percent, while for those taking losartan it was 83 percent.

Based on these findings, Lund expects prescribing habits to change in favor of candesartan.

"Prescription of candesartan will probably increase and of losartan decrease. But this may be controversial, because candesartan is on patent and relatively expensive, whereas losartan is generic and much less expensive," he said.

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