A heart pill that halves risk of death

Monday, November 15, 2010

LONDON - A heart pill promises to nearly halve the risk of death and save tens of thousands of heart patients every year, researchers say.

Costing just two pounds a day, Eplerenone can revolutionise the treatment of heart complications, one of the biggest killers worldwide. The pill reduces the risk of death by almost 40 percent, and can prevent many people from being hospitalised.

University of Glasgow researchers, in collaboration with doctors from France, US, Sweden and the Netherlands, compared the effects of the drug on almost 3,000 patients for over four years, reports the Daily Mail.

Prof John McMurray, study co-author and cardidologist at the University of Glasgow, said: “This trial will change the way we manage our patients.”

Patients are also far less likely to need long-term care or surgical procedures such as bypass operations, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

Currently, doctors give patients a pill called Inspra if the standard medications do not work. The daily pill works by reducing the effects of the potentially harmful hormones cortisol and aldosterone.

Heart disease patients are usually prescribed treatments including aspirin and anticoagulants to prevent blood clotting, statins to lower cholesterol and beta blockers for high blood pressure.

Heart disease is caused by a build up of fat in the walls in the coronary arteries, which transport blood to the heart.

This makes the arteries narrower, restricting the flow of blood. This can cause angina, or chest pains, and if the artery is blocked, the patient has a heart attack.

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