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A cost effective heart failure drug hits the market!

With sky high health-care costs it has become a burden both on the body as well as the purse if sickness strikes. But as a respite comes a new cardio drug that negates both the above said effects of ill health. //

The drug is in the African-American heart failure patients where it has greatly improved the condition.

Derek Angus, M.D., M.P.H., professor of critical care medicine at the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine led the study where in he examined data from the African-American Heart Failure Trial (A-HeFT) study in order to determine the trial participants' ongoing health care costs. The comparison was made in patients who took a medication with two active drug ingredients, isosorbide dinitrate and hydralazine (ISDN/HYD), to those in patients receiving a placebo regimen. The trial demonstrated the effectiveness of ISDN/HYD for treating heart failure in African-American patients.

The result demonstrated that total health care costs for the AHeFT participants who were treated with ISDN/HYD were 22 percent lower. Health care costs specifically related to heart failure were almost 34 percent lower on average, $5,997 versus $9,144. When the cost of the drug was factored in, there was still an average savings of 6 percent, or $533, on heart failure-related costs for ISDN/HYD patients compared to those who didn't receive the drug, and a 9 percent, or $1,730, average savings on total health care costs.

As stated by Dr. Angus, "This medication clearly decreased healthcare costs for AHeFT participants during the course of the clinical trial, even when the cost of the drug itself was taken into account. Based on the savings we've seen for one year and our modelling that projects future health care cost expenditures, it's likely that the cost-effectiveness of this drug will bear out in the long term as well."

Dr. Angus and his colleagues developed a model to predict costs over the course of the pa tient's lifespan beyond the 12-month trial period. Even under the most pessimistic assumption that, over time, the drug would no longer provide therapeutic benefits the model predicted that for 95 percent of patients, health care costs would still amount to less than what is considered to be a reasonable threshold for cost-effectiveness.

As another statement by Dr.Angus clarifies, "Using very conservative restrictions, our model suggests that this drug, even if used for lifetime courses over many years, should be very cost-effective. The key will be appropriate patient selection and careful attention to compliance with treatment. Our findings apply to the types of individuals, African-Americans with moderate to severe heart failure, who were enrolled in AHeFT. We do not know whether similar benefits would be found in other groups of patients."

"Because we relied on the actual data regarding health care resource use, our primary findings are likely to be very robust, as robust as the overall clinical trial results from AHeFT," said Dr. Angus.

A-HeFT involved 1,050 African-American patients at 11 sites with New York Heart Association Class III or Class IV failure, which is defined as moderate to severe heart failure resulting in significant limitations to physical activity. AHeFT participants were randomly assigned to receive ISDN/HYD or a placebo in addition to their regular heart failure therapy. The patients' age averaged 56.8 years, and 40 percent of the patients were women. The patients were followed for an average of 12.8 months, and the study ended prematurely when a preliminary analysis showed that patients treated with ISDN/HYD had a significantly lower mortality 6.2 percent compared to 10.2 percent.

This study was aimed at the African –American community only.

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