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New Treatment for Heart Failure

Blood pressure drug assumes dual role

Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional.

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 23, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the AstraZenecablood pressure drug Atacand to reduce the risk of death andhospitalization from heart failure.

The drug belongs to a class of medications called angiotensinreceptor blockers (ARB). In a study of 2,028 heart failure patients whowere intolerant to a separate class of medicines called ACE inhibitors,Atacand lowered patients' risk of death or hospitalization by 23percent, the company said in a statement.

Heart failure, caused when the heart becomes unable to effectivelypump blood to the rest of the body, affects nearly 5 million Americansand contributes to some 300,000 deaths annually, AstraZeneca said,citing the American Heart Association. More than half a million newcases are diagnosed each year, and the condition is responsible formore than 3.5 million hospitalizations annually, the company added.

Atacand can harm a developing fetus and should not be used by womenas soon as they discover they are pregnant, AstraZeneca said.

To learn more about heart failure, check the FDA's Heart Health Online.


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