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Drug helps in mild heart failure

Eplerenone cuts death and hospitalization rates among patients fighting less severe but chronic forms of the condition

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5:39pm, November 15, 2010

CHICAGO — People with mild heart failure symptoms may benefit from a drug previously reserved for patients with more severe forms of the condition or high blood pressure. The drug, called eplerenone, reduces the risk of hospitalization and death in patients with a milder, chronic form of heart failure, a new study finds. Physician Faiez Zannad of the Nancy University Hospital Center in Nancy, France, presented the findings November 14 at a meeting of the American Heart Association.

Zannad and his colleagues randomly assigned 2,737 patients, average age 69, to get either eplerenone or a placebo. After the groups had been followed for 21 months on average, the trial was stopped when it became clear the drug benefited those taking it. During follow-up 26 percent of people getting the placebo were hospitalized for heart failure or died from cardiovascular causes compared with only 18 percent of those getting the drug.

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