Drug reduces heart attack risk by 36 per cent

Taking the drug ivabradine can reduce the risk of heart attacks by 36 per cent in patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD), UK research suggests.

It is the first time that a study has shown that using a drug to lower heart rate, ivabradine functions as a heart rate inhibitor, can lead to a reduction in coronary events in patients already receiving optimal therapy.

The findings of the BEAUTIFUL trial, presented on Sunday at the European Society of Cardiology conference in Munich, involved 10,917 patients with a resting heart rate of over 60 beats per minute (bpm), who had stable CAD and left ventricular systolic dysfunction.

The patients were randomly assigned to receive either 5mg of ivabradine daily or placebo. A total of 87 per cent of the patients were already receiving treatment with beta-blockers.

At the end of the 19-month follow-up period, the researchers found that in patients with a heart rate of over 70bpm taking ivabradine reduced the risk of hospitalisation for fatal and non-fatal MI by 36 per cent compared with placebo.

The risk of coronary revascularisation was also reduced in this patient group by 30 per cent and the risk of angina by 22 per cent.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

European Society of Cardiology conference Munich 2008

Paper published in The Lancet Online 2008

Editor's blog: Beer and sausages on the menu at cardiology conference

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