Experts back drug for heart failure

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A drug that could benefit people with heart failure has been recommended for use.

Data on Procoralan (ivabradine) suggests it cuts death rates and the need for a patient to be taken to hospital for heart failure, which affects about 900,000 people in the UK.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has said that the drug has been shown to have a beneficial effect in reducing mortality and improving the quality of life for patients.

In draft guidance, Nice said the drug could be considered as a treatment option after patients have been treated with other drugs but are still showing symptoms, or when patients do not tolerate the other recommended medication.

Professor Carole Longson, Nice Health Technology Evaluation Centre director, said: “The prevalence of heart failure is expected to rise in the future as more people live longer generally, people survive longer with coronary artery disease and there are better treatments for heart failure.

“Heart failure can have a significant detrimental impact on quality of life and a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks – an impact that is exacerbated by comorbidities that commonly affect the elderly.

“The independent committee that advises Nice considered that, on the basis of the available evidence, ivabradine has been shown to have a beneficial effect in reducing mortality and improving quality of life in people with some types of chronic heart failure.

“The committee was mindful that there is robust evidence for the effectiveness of ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers and aldosterone antagonists that are used routinely in managing heart failure.

“They concluded, therefore, that ivabradine could be considered a cost-effective use of NHS resources for treating chronic heart failure after optimal treatment with these drugs has been achieved and when patients are still symptomatic after receiving optimised initial therapies, or when beta-blockers are contraindicated or not tolerated by the patients.”

Procoralan costs about £10 a week and is already prescribed for patients in the UK with angina.


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