ad info




CNN.com
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
 SPACE
* HEALTH
 AIDS
 Aging
 Alternative
 Cancer
 Children
 Diet & Fitness
 Men
 Women
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 ARTS & STYLE
 NATURE
 IN-DEPTH
 ANALYSIS
 myCNN

 Headline News brief
 news quiz
 daily almanac

  MULTIMEDIA:
 video
 video archive
 audio
 multimedia showcase
 more services

  E-MAIL:
Subscribe to one of our news e-mail lists.
Enter your address:
Or:
Get a free e-mail account

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 AsiaNow
 En Español
 Em Português
 Svenska
 Norge
 Danmark
 Italian

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 TIME INC. SITES:
 CNN NETWORKS:
Networks image
 more networks
 transcripts

 SITE INFO:
 help
 contents
 search
 ad info
 jobs

 WEB SERVICES:

  health > heart > story pageAIDSAlternative MedicineCancerDiet & FitnessHeartMenSeniorsWomen

Study suggests inexpensive drug cuts heart-failure deaths by one-third

Aldactone
From the New England Journal of Medicine Online:
Article: The Effect of Spironolactone on Morbidity and Mortality in Patients with Severe Heart Failure

Editorial: Aldosterone and Spironolactone in Heart Failure
VIDEO
CNN's Rhonda Rowland reports on a study that suggests an inexpensive drug, Aldactone, cuts heart-failure deaths
Windows Media 28K 80K

July 20, 1999
Web posted at: 10:17 a.m. EDT (1417 GMT)

From Medical Correspondent Rhonda Rowland

ATLANTA (CNN) -- Deeming the news important enough to release ahead of scheduled publication, a major medical journal on Monday is quoting a study that suggests an inexpensive drug could save lives in the treatment of heart patients.

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) report says the new study shows adding the drug Aldactone to standard therapy for severe heart failure reduced deaths by 30 percent and hospitalizations by 36 percent in participating patients. The study was sponsored by Searle, maker of Aldactone, a drug long on the market.

"This has a tremendous benefit to patients," says lead researcher Dr. Bertram Pitt of the University of Michigan, "but this also has tremendous public health benefit, because this drug has been around for 30 years, and it's available right now in the drugstores, and it's very, very cheap."

According to the American Heart Association, close to five million people in the United States suffer from chronic heart failure.

The study results were scheduled to be published by the NEJM in September, but the manuscript was instead posted Monday on its Web site (www.nejm.org). The NEJM only releases manuscripts early when it's determined that research findings have immediate clinical implications.

The study, performed in 15 countries on more than 1,600 patients with severe heart failure was halted 18 months early by an independent oversight committee because the results were seen as so significant that it would have been unethical to continue the trial.

Many physicians had feared Aldactone would raise potassium levels to dangerous levels and would be unsafe. But the study suggests that Aldactone is safe when used in conjunction with current heart therapies, although potassium levels still should be monitored.

Another possible side effect of Aldactone in men is gynecomastia or enlargement of the breasts. This effect occurred in 10 percent of the study participants. Dr. Pitt says resulting breast enlargement wasn't severe, just annoying.

Aldactone is the branded version of the compound spironolactone and several companies make generic versions of the drug.

Searle researchers are working on a new version of the drug, in hopes of eliminating the breast-enlargement side effect seen in some men treated. The company doesn't expect the modified drug to be available for a few more years.

Searle officials say they hope to learn whether Aldactone has the same life-saving benefit for patients suffering from hypertension and from less severe forms of heart failure.

Medical Producer Karen Klaus contributed to this report.



RELATED STORIES:
Cholesterol-lowering drugs may work as well as heart surgery
July 7, 1999
Heart disease top killer of women
May 10, 1999
Researchers say heart drug helps save patients' lives
November 11, 1998
Report: McDougal had no access to heart drug, doctors just before death
September 14, 1998
CDC: Deaths from heart failure down
June 6, 1998

RELATED SITES:
New England Journal of Medicine
Searle Healthnet
American Heart Association National Center
University of Michigan
Mayo Clinic: Ask the Mayo Physician - gynecomastia
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

LATEST HEALTH STORIES:
China SARS numbers pass 5,000
Report: Form of HIV in humans by 1940
Fewer infections for back-sleeping babies
Pneumonia vaccine may help heart, too
 LATEST HEADLINES:
SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.