STUDY: New Novartis Heart Failure Drug to Revolutionize Treatment

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A new heart failure medication from Novartis could replace drugs that have been vital to treating heart failure after lowering the chances of death or h...

A new heart failure medication from Novartis could replace drugs that have been vital to treating heart failure after lowering the chances of death or hospitalization by about 20 percent in a study.

The experimental drug, currently known as LCZ696, boosted the hopes of doctors as the treatment could quickly change care for more than half of the 6 million Americans and 24 million people worldwide who suffer from heart failure.

“By demonstrating a very significant reduction in cardiovascular deaths while improving quality of life, Novartis’ new heart failure medicine, LCZ696, represents one of the most important cardiology advances of the last decade,” said David Epstein, Division Head, Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

“Given the survival advantage of LCZ696 over currently available drugs, once this drug becomes available, it would be difficult to understand why physicians would continue to use traditional (drugs) ... for the treatment of heart failure,” Milton Packer of the University of Texas told Reuters.  

The study involved nearly 8,500 individuals in 47 countries and is regarded as one of the largest studies done on heart failure to date. Independent monitors stopped the study early five months ago because of the overwhelmingly positive benefits to patients.

The drug, which was tested against enalapril, resulted in patients being 20 percent less likely than those on enalapril to die of cardiovascular causes and were also 21 percent less likely to be admitted to a hospital. The results of the study were disclosed at a European Society of Cardiology conference in Barcelona, Spain and published online by the New England Journal of Medicine.

LCZ696 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.

Novartis will seek approval for the drug by the end of this year in the United States and early next year in Europe. 

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