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Study: Novel heart failure drug shows big promise

New Drug Could Reduce Cardiovascular Deaths
By MARILYNN MARCHIONE

A new study reports one of the biggest potential advances against heart failure in more than a decade - a first-of-a-kind, experimental drug that lowered the chances of death or hospitalization by about 20 percent.

Doctors say the Novartis drug - which doesn't have a name yet - seems like one of those rare, breakthrough therapies that could quickly change care for more than half of the 6 million Americans and 24 million people worldwide with heart failure.

"This is a new day" for patients, said Dr. Clyde Yancy, cardiology chief at Northwestern University in Chicago and a former American Heart Association president.

"It's been at least a decade since we've had a breakthrough of this magnitude," said Yancy, who had no role in the study.

It involved nearly 8,500 people in 47 countries and was the largest experiment ever done in heart failure. It was paid for, designed and partly run by Novartis, based in Basel, Switzerland. Independent monitors stopped the study in April, seven months earlier than planned, when it was clear the drug was better than an older one that is standard now.

During the 27-month study, the Novartis drug cut the chances of dying of heart-related causes by 20 percent and for any reason by 16 percent, compared to the older drug. It also reduced the risk of being hospitalized for heart failure by 21 percent.

"We are really excited," said one study leader, Dr. Milton Packer of UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. The benefit "exceeded our original expectations."

Results were disclosed Saturday at a European Society of Cardiology conference in Barcelona and published online by the New England Journal of Medicine.

Novartis will seek approval for the drug - for now called LCZ696 - by the end of this year in the United States and early next year in Europe

Heart failure is the top reason older people are hospitalized, and a leading cause of death. It develops when the heart muscle weakens over time and can no longer pump effectively, often because of damage from a heart attack. Fluid can back up into the lungs and leave people gasping for breath.

The people in this study were already taking three to five medicines to control the condition. One medicine often used is an ACE inhibitor, and the study tested one of these - enalapril, sold as Vasotec and in generic form - against the Novartis drug.

The new drug is a twice-a-day pill combination of two medicines that block the effects of substances that harm the heart while also preserving ones that help protect it. One of the medicines also dilates blood vessels and allows the heart to pump more effectively.

In the study, 26.5 percent on the older drug, enalapril, died of heart-related causes or were hospitalized for heart failure versus less than 22 percent of those on the Novartis drug. Quality of life also was better with the experimental drug.

"We now have a way of stabilizing and managing their disease which is better than what we could offer them before," Packer said.

The new drug also seemed safe - reassuring because safety concerns doomed a couple of other promising-looking treatments over the last decade. There were more cases of too-low blood pressure and non-serious swelling beneath the skin with the Novartis drug, but more kidney problems, excess potassium in the blood and cough with the older drug. More people on the older treatment dropped out of the study than those on the new one.

About 32 people would need to be treated with the new drug to prevent one death from heart-related causes.

"That's a favorable number," said Dr. Joseph G. Rogers, a Duke University cardiologist with no role in the study. He said the benefits were big enough that "I would switch people over" as soon as the drug is available.

The drug "may well represent a new threshold of hope" for patients, Dr. Mariell Jessup, heart failure chief at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote in a commentary in the journal. It may help "a wide spectrum of patients, even those who are currently receiving the best possible therapy."

___

Online:

Heart failure information: http://tinyurl.com/2avrgpo

and http://tinyurl.com/ltakeyb

___

Marilynn Marchione can be followed athttp://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
hman570 August 30 2014 at 8:15 PM

What good is it. The people will never see it only the rich and our self serving politicians get those drugs at our expense. while we have to take the sub standard drugs. What a country we have turned into.

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6 replies
skydrop007 August 30 2014 at 6:24 PM

Another way is to get rid of all liberals.

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6 replies
tren555 August 30 2014 at 6:49 PM

Health Care is nr 1 killer in US. 240 000 americans are killed in US by medical mistakes alone .
Medisc ( stupid people and kids call them doctors ) are real killers.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
bchlfe August 30 2014 at 8:27 PM

$1000 per pill. For WASPS only.

Thank you

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
Bob bchlfe August 30 2014 at 8:40 PM

Get out and get a education. Then get a job that pays.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
CPA11973 bchlfe August 30 2014 at 10:35 PM

that's nothing. stelara only taken 4 times per year runs over $7,000 a dose with no insurance.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
kcampo6453 August 30 2014 at 9:44 PM

Yes and after it's put on the market, they'll find out it causes blindness.

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2 replies
ga7smi kcampo6453 August 31 2014 at 2:58 AM

or death

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doonooch kcampo6453 August 31 2014 at 5:15 AM

and that's when you will see TV law firm commercials to sue the "bastards" who developed the drug. Only in America is there a culture like this.

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Viper1ex19 August 30 2014 at 8:36 PM

"Another" new drug :-/

Just what America needs.

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1 reply
handsome devil ! Viper1ex19 August 31 2014 at 11:04 AM

why so pessimistic. without statins millions of people would have died already and have now a perfect lipid panel. (comes in generic and is covered by basically ALL insurances).

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katmogie August 30 2014 at 6:52 PM

to bad the people that need it, will not be able to afford it, unless they are illegal or on medicaide, then it will be given to them

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1 reply
newsmyrnasuite katmogie August 30 2014 at 9:09 PM

Medicaide? Really. Maybe you are drinking the Koolaide....

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Ma Fosz August 30 2014 at 6:50 PM

Since most Republicans are grossly obese this new drug could help them live longer. When are the Republicans going to cut funding for this stuff ?

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5 replies
jltjt9 August 30 2014 at 8:03 PM

I know doctors and have seen circulatory charts like what is displayed. But I never see a nerve chart like you would find in a Chiropractor office.

American's have bad backs and it appears that people have heart attacks when they do not have cholesterol problems.

We also know that the Liver manufactures Cholesterol and no one talks about this.

So why not, as many people have found, ever bestow the health benefits of straightening to the spine to achieve the natural curve and alignment which allows nerves and nerve passage through the spine to the internal organs which regulate the heart and the liver of course to prevent heart disease or reduce it.

I do not know about you, but a pinched nerve for the face can cause frozen face as it is known.

So if it can do this it can also reduce or even stop organ function. A pinched nerve to the liver, well, you figure it out.

The medical establishment call them dislocated vertebra. Chiropractors call them misalignments. Whatever, recognize.

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2 replies
Heymickr jltjt9 August 30 2014 at 10:57 PM

Statin drugs, which are incredibly effective, are designed to work on the liver. I have 8 bypasses in my heart from two open heart surgeries. Once the statins came out I have easily reduced my overall cholesterol to 108 and have no problems.
I'll bet your chiropractor told you that one of your legs is longer than the other. It's the standard opening gambit.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
ga7smi jltjt9 August 31 2014 at 3:00 AM

the nevous system including the brain needs cholesterol

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Ma Fosz August 30 2014 at 6:56 PM

If this new drug works can you just imagine just how much longer people are going to live ? Health care cost will go through the roof covering all the new aliments these people will develop with their extended life. Republicans have to put a stop to this new heart failure drug.

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2 replies
dickn2000b Ma Fosz August 30 2014 at 8:05 PM

dickn2000b .44 minutes ago
Folks, it looks like the AOL/Fluffpost has another mindless, vacant, inane commenter who goes by the screen name 'Ma Fosz.' This is the second time today I have read one of her pointless comments. Hers are the typical parroted rhetoric of all liberals who shuffle along like zombies mouthing the standard propaganda of the democrat party. They have no original thoughts of their own, and are unable to offer any solutions to the problems they blame the GOP for. They, like their inept pretender in chief, Obama, are to be pitied.

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1 reply
modfather910 dickn2000b August 30 2014 at 10:42 PM

It read more like a moronic babble from a low information repub, but if all you listen to is the script from fraud newz, we can't expect you to be an information expert.

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handsome devil ! Ma Fosz August 31 2014 at 11:06 AM

so go and shoot yourself and save us all some money!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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