Valsartan Not Linked to Fewer Atrial Fibrillation Recurrences

No significant differences seen in endpoints when comparing placebo and treatment groups

WEDNESDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- The use of valsartan was not associated with a decrease in recurrences of atrial fibrillation in patients with underlying cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or left atrial enlargement, according to research published in the April 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Marcello Disertori, M.D., of the Santa Chiara Hospital in Trento, Italy, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,442 patients with recent atrial fibrillation who were randomized to receive placebo or a daily dose of valsartan that was increased over the course of a month to 320 milligrams daily for the remainder of the year. Primary endpoints were time to first recurrence of atrial fibrillation and proportion of patients with more than one recurrence during the year. Patients could continue previous angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors, amiodarone, and beta-blockers.

No significant difference was seen in recurrences between the treatment and placebo groups (51.4 versus 52.1 percent, respectively), nor patients having more than one episode of atrial fibrillation (26.9 versus 27.9 percent, respectively), the researchers report.

"One limitation of many large clinical trials in which the occurrence of atrial fibrillation is not a primary endpoint is the method used to detect recurrences of atrial fibrillation. Such trials often rely on the results of electrocardiography performed at scheduled office visits or on the patient's report of symptoms," the authors write. "As a result, these trials tend to show lower rates of detection of atrial fibrillation than trials, like ours, that use frequent transtelephonic monitoring."

Novartis provided funding for the study, and several co-authors disclosed financial relationships with the company. Two co-authors are listed on a patent application for the use of valsartan in atrial fibrillation.

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