Breakthrough Heart Failure Drug Approved

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new drug for heart failure that some say could replace current drugs and procedures used to treat the condition.

On Tuesday, the FDA approved drug company Novartis’ Entresto, formally known as LCZ696, for clinical use. In trials, the drug cut deaths or hospitalization from heart disease by 20%.

Novartis developed the drug hoping to replace ACE inhibitors, which are one of the go-tos for heart failure treatment. In a previous trial, an ethics council had requested that Novartis end the trial early since the data showed that trial participants using LCZ696 lived longer without being hospitalized for heart failure compared to people using the common ACE inhibitor, enalapril.

Patients swallow two tablets a day, which cost about $12.50 (or $4500 a year). So far, the side effects include low blood pressure and a drop in kidney function, as well as some swelling in the face, but experts, and the FDA, believe the benefits in improving heart function generally outweigh these potential adverse events.

Early reports suggest the drug will be a “blockbuster” on Wall Street.

Read more about Entresto here.

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