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Breakthrough heart failure drug: Is it right for you?

Entresto shows benefits over traditional treatment for heart failure patients

game changer blogHeart failure is a debilitating and life-threatening condition affecting nearly six million people in the United States. In patients with heart failure, the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s nutrition and oxygen needs. The blood begins to back up and, as a result, the veins, tissues and lungs become congested with fluid.

Heart failure patients face a high risk of repeated hospitalizations and symptoms such as fatigue, loss of breath and fluid retention, all significantly impacting their quality of life. These patients also face the risk of death.

But now there’s a new heart failure drug, known as Entresto, bringing hope to many of these patients. Approval of Entresto came six weeks ahead of the FDA’s priority review action date, allowing it to be available to patients in the United States sooner than anticipated.

How it works

Entresto is a combination of two drugs:

  • Valsartan, an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) which is already used to treat heart failure and has demonstrated benefits in reducing mortality and hospitalization in systolic heart failure.
  • Sacubitril, a neprilysin inhibitor that has been tested in the treatment of high blood pressure.

Entresto is classified as an ARNI (angiotensin receptor neprilysin inhibitor), and acts by suppressing detrimental neurohormonal pathways that are involved in the pathogenesis of heart failure and by augmenting endogenous peptides that are beneficial in heart failure.

Developed by Novartis, Entresto has demonstrated clear benefits when compared to existing medications such as enalapril currently used to treat heart failure in patients with reduced ejection fraction.

Promising findings

The PARADIGM-HF study, in which 8,442 patients participated, revealed that use of Entresto has:

  • Reduced the risk of death from cardiovascular causes by 20 percent
  • Reduced heart failure hospitalizations by 21percent
  • Reduced the risk of all-cause mortality by 16 percent
  • Significantly improved heart failure symptoms and functional limitations

At the end of the study, patients with reduced ejection fraction who were given Entresto were more likely to be alive and less likely to have been hospitalized for heart failure and had fewer symptoms and physical limitations than those given enalapril.

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Profile-MonicaColvin-2015 thumbnailDr. Monica Colvin is a cardiologist at the U-M Frankel Cardiovascular Center. She received her medical degree from University of Alabama School of Medicine and has been in practice for 15 years. Areas of specialty include cardiology, advanced heart failure, heart transplant and mechanical circulatory support.

 

 

Frankel-informal-vertical-sigThe University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is a top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit our website at umcvc.org.