Heart Failure Drug Extends Lives

A blood-pressure medication called eplerenon can help extend the lives of people who develop congestive heart failure after suffering a heart attack. That's what researchers report in the Feb. 22 issue of Circulation. After a heart attack, about 22 percent of men and 46 percent of women develop heart failure -- the inability of the heart to pump enough blood. Such patients have double the risk of dying or suffering another heart attack within the following 30 days. A randomized, worldwide study of more than 6,600 patients found those treated with eplerenon suffered fewer deaths and less hospitalization from cardiovascular problems. The drug helps fight heart attack by targeting aldosterone, a hormone important to blood vessel constriction. Eplerenone also cost less than $100 a month, and researchers found the significant increase in survival rate came at an average per-patient cost of $1,391 over a 16-month period.

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