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Angina Drug Safe for Long-Term Use

Study finds lower heart-failure rates with nifedipine

TUESDAY, Aug. 31, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- The angina drug nifedipine GITS (gastrointestinal therapeutic system) is safe for long-term use, a new study says.

The study, appearing in the Aug. 31 online issue of The Lancet, included 7,665 angina patients in 19 countries. Half the patients received nifedipine GITS and the other half received a placebo. After about five years, both groups had similar death rates. But the incidence of heart failure and of coronary interventions was lower in the nifedipine GITS group.

"Nifedipine GITS can be used safely for the long-term treatment of patients with coronary disease and angina pectoris because, in addition to relieving symptoms of angina, it prolongs cardiovascular event and procedure free survival," Dr. Philip Pool-Wilson, a cardiologist at Imperial College London and the study's lead investigator, said in a prepared statement.

Calcium agonists such a nifedipine are commonly used to relieve angina symptoms, but there have been some concerns about their long-term safety, the researchers said.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about angina.

SOURCE: The Lancet, news release, Aug. 31, 2004
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