Controversial Trial Finds No Benefit For Expensive Medicines Company Drug Reply

Although there is broad consensus in the medical community that primary PCI is the best treatment for heart attack patients when it can be delivered promptly, there is no agreement about the best accompanying drug regimen, which usually entails a combination of antiplatelet and antithrombotic drugs. The role of one antithrombotic, bivalirudin (Angiomax, The Medicines Company) has been particularly uncertain because it is far more expensive than its alternative, unfractionated heparin.

HEAT-PPCI was designed to help settle this problem.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

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ESC Hot Lines: First Real Data On Promising Novartis Heart Failure Drug Reply

The first real details about the much-anticipated novel new heart failure drug from Novartis will kick off this year’s Hot Line sessions at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology in Barcelona, Spain. The meeting runs from August 30 until September 3.

As I have previously reported, the PARADIGM-HF trial was stopped because of a highly statistically significant reduction in cardiovascular mortality in patients taking LCZ696 (a novel, first-in-class Angiotensin Receptor Neprilysin Inhibitor) instead of the current gold standard of treatment, an ACE inhibitor….

Here is the complete list of Hot Line trials:

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

Study Offers Reassurance About Newer Drug-Eluting Stents Reply

Drug-eluting stents (DES) have been viewed as a great advance over earlier stents and balloon angioplasty because they result in many fewer cases of restenosis. But enthusiasm for the first generation of DES was somewhat curbed due to reports of late stent thrombosis (ST), a rare but very dangerous complication. Now findings from a large ongoing registry study provide some reassurance about the long-term safety of the new generation of drug-eluting stents in patients with heart attacks (STEMI). The results are published  in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

SCAAR (Swedish Coronary Angiography and Angioplasty Registry) investigators analyzed data from 34,000 primary PCI patients who received a bare-metal stent, an old-generation DES, or a new-generation DES.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

In Emerging China Heart Attacks Skyrocket But Treatment Lags Reply

Accompanying all the other changes in China over the past decade, admission to the hospital for heart attacks ST-elevation myocardial infarction, or STEMI) has soared, according to a paper published in the LancetAlthough the study finds that there have been some genuine improvements in treatment, the Chinese healthcare system still has a long way to go in order to improve the outcome of these patients.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

Strike 2 For Once Promising GSK ‘Stinkbomb’ Heart Drug Reply

GSK said today that a large phase 3 trial of a once highly-promising drug had failed to meet its primary endpoint. Last year the company  announced that another phase 3 trial with the same drug had  failed. GSK said it would “further analyse the data and better understand the findings” but that, for now at least, it would not seek regulatory approval for the drug.

The SOLID-TIMI 52 (Stabilisation Of pLaques usIng Darapladib – Thrombolysis In Myocardial Infarction 52) trial randomized more than 13,000 patients within 30 days of an acute coronary syndrome to receive either placebo or darapladib, an anti-inflammatory drug designed to stabilize atherosclerotic plaques. GSK reported today that the drug did not significantly reduce major coronary events.  The full results of the trial will be presented at a future scientific meeting.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

Intensive Insulin Therapy Saves Lives– But Is The Finding Still Relevant? 1

A trial that started back in 1990 continues to demonstrate a significant mortality advantage for intensive insulin therapy in heart attack (MI) patients. But experts say the trial design is so outdated that the findings should have no influence on clinical practice today.

During the years 1990 through 1993 the Swedish DIGAMI I (Diabetes Mellitus Insulin Glucose Infusion in Acute Myocardial Infaction 1) trial randomized 620 MI patients with elevated glucose levels to either intensive insulin treatment or conventional therapy. Earlier results from the trial showed beneficial effects, including improved survival, for patients in the intensive treatment arm.

Now, a paper published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, presents 20-year followup results showing an average 2.3 year increase in survival for patients in the treatment arm (median survival 7.0 years versus 4.7 years, HR 0.83, CI 0.70-0.98, p=0.27).

Click here to read the entire post on Forbes, including an extensive comment from Darren McGuire.

 

FDA Approves Novel Merck Drug To Prevent Heart Attacks And Strokes Reply

The FDA today approved vorapaxar (Zontivity), Merck’s once-troubled platelet receptor antagonist, to reduce the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke, cardiovascular death, and revascularization procedures. The drug is approved for use in people with a history of MI or peripheral arterial disease. The approval represents an amazing turnaround for a drug that had experienced nearly as many ups and downs as an amusement park roller coaster.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

FDA Comes Out Against Aspirin To Prevent First Heart Attacks 1

In the latest development in a long-simmering debate, the FDA has announced that aspirin should not be marketed for the prevention of a first heart attack or stroke in people with no history of cardiovascular disease. The announcement follows FDA’s rejection on Friday of Bayer Healthcare’s decade-old  petition requesting approval of a primary prevention indication. [PDF of FDA rejection letter]

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

Another Failed HDL Therapy Trial Reply

Despite robust epidemiological evidence suggesting that HDL has a strong protective effect against cardiovascular disease, there has been no good evidence showing that HDL-based therapies are beneficial. Large trials of drugs that raise HDL levels, including niacin and CETP-inhibitors, have failed to demonstrate improvements in outcome. Some observers gleaned hope from several small studies of drugs that mimic HDL activity but these studies have been too small to offer convincing evidence. Now a new study– the largest to ever study an HDL mimetic– has failed to find even a glimmer of benefit.

Results of the CHI-SQUARE (Can HDL Infusions Significantly QUicken Atherosclerosis Regression) study were published online in the European Heart Journal.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes, with extensive comments from PK Shah and William Boden.

 

Stem Cell Therapy To Fix The Heart: A House Of Cards About To Fall? Reply

For more than a decade cardiac stem cell therapy has attracted an enormous amount of attention, promise, and research dollars. Now an original and important new study published in BMJ finds that many of the most promising results in the field are illusory and that the potential benefits of stem cells to treat heart disease are probably far more modest than we’ve been led to believe. The study also raises disturbing questions about ethics and research conduct (and misconduct) in a high-flying field.

Researchers in the UK, led by Darrel Francis, closely scrutinized 133 reports from 49 different clinical trials testing autologous bone marrow stem cells in patients with heart disease. They found an astonishingly large number  of discrepancies in the reports– altogether more than 600  discrepancies, ranging from minor oversights to serious unexplained errors and apparent deceptions. Many errors were mathematical or statistical errors while others were more general, such as conflicting descriptions of studies as either a prospective randomized trial or a retrospective observational study.

The key finding of the study is that there was a very strong correlation between the number of discrepancies in a study and the reported improvement in heart function as measured by left ventricular ejection fraction(LVEF)…

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

New Study Lends Support For Alternative Heart Attack Treatment Strategy 2

It is generally agreed that the best treatment for heart attack patients is to immediately reperfuse the blocked artery with a stent. But many people live in areas where this strategy, known as primary PCI, is not available within the time frame when it produces the greatest benefit. Previous studies have found good short term outcomes in patients who receive a pharmaco-invasive strategy, in which patients first receive fibrinolytic therapy including a clot-busting drug and then later undergo angiography. Now long-term results from a large real-world study show that this strategy may be an acceptable alternative for some patients when immediate primary PCI is not available.

In a paper published in Circulation, French researchers report the 5 year mortality findings from nearly 1,500 STEMI patients enrolled in the 2005 cohort of FAST-MI (The French Registry on Acute ST-Elevation and Non–ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction).

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

High-Sensitivity Troponin Test Could Identify Low Risk Chest Pain Patients In The ED Reply

Approximately 15-20 million people in Europe and the United States go to the emergency department every year with chest pain. Many can be discharged early if they are not having an acute coronary syndrome. A large new single-center observational study, presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting in Washington, DC and published simultaneously in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, provides fresh evidence that high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) may be useful in helping identify chest pain patients in the emergency department who do not need to be admitted to the hospital.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

FDA Once Again Rejects New Indication For Rivaroxaban Reply

The third time wasn’t the charm. The FDA today turned turned down– for the third time– the supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for rivaroxaban (Xarelto, Johnson & Johnson) for use in acute coronary syndrome patients to reduce MI, stroke or death. In addition, the FDA– for the second time– turned down the sNDA for rivaroxaban in the same population for the reduction of stent thrombosis.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

Surviving A Heart Attack: Location And Time Make A Big Difference Reply

Two studies published this week offer fresh evidence that your life may depend on where and when you have a heart attack.

1. Heart attack patients in the United Kingdom are more likely to die than heart attack patients in Sweden, according to a study published in the Lancet.

2. Heart attack patients are more likely to die if they reach the hospital at night or on the weekends, according to a study published in the BMJ.

… 

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

FDA Panel Once Again Rejects New Indication For Rivaroxaban Reply

The FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee once again turned down the supplemental new drug application for an acute coronary syndrome indication for Johnson & Johnson’s Xarelto (rivaroxaban). The nearly unanimous vote (10-0, with 1 abstention) was in line with a highly negative review from FDA staff members.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

English: Logo of the band Rejected Español: Lo...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

FDA Advisory Panel Votes In Favor Of Approval For Merck’s Vorapaxar Reply

The FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee voted 10-1 in favor of approval for vorapaxar, Merck’s novel thrombin receptor antagonist. The “roller coaster ride” cliché might have been invented for this drug, which was the subject of tremendous early hopes followed by major disappointments and, finally, a subsequent revival.

Click here to read the entire post on Forbes.

 

English: The Kraken roller coaster ride at Sea...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia) 

 

 

 

Rivaroxaban Faces Uphill Battle At FDA Advisory Panel Reply

The third time may not be the charm. Twice before the FDA has turned down the supplemental new drug application for an acute coronary syndrome indication for Johnson & Johnson’s Xarelto (rivaroxaban). On Thursday the Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee will take up the sNDA yet again, but FDA review documents posted today suggest that the company will again face an uphill battle.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

Stone wall of an English barn

 

Merck’s Vorapaxar Gets Positive FDA Review Reply

A few years ago a novel antiplatelet agent from Merck seemed all but dead. Vorapaxar, a thrombin receptor antagonist, was widely thought to have no future after unacceptably high serious bleeding rates were found in two large clinical trials studying the drug in a wide variety of acute and chronic cardiovascular patients. But hopes for the drug resurfaced with a new analysis of one of those trials, the TRA2P trial. Now the FDA appears willing to give the drug a renewed lease on life.

Click here to read the full story on Forbes.

 

Massive Heart Attack Or Massive Journalistic Irresponsibility? 2

A great lesson in how not to report about heart attacks in the general media, from Gary Schwitzer, health journalism watchdog:

Journalists: don’t use the term “massive” heart attack if you don’t know what you’re talking about

 Very quickly, the term “massive heart attack” started going viral among Minnesota news organizations and on Twitter and Facebook.

Two and a half hours later, Rybak was tweeting from the hospital: “My cardiac surprise/Gave me quite a start/But it proves this politician/Has a great big heart.”

“His former spokesman, John Stiles, described the heart attack as “serious,’’ but said Rybak will be released in several days.”

“Massive heart attack” is a vague, frightening, dangerous term to be throwing around in the absence of evidence. I know how I reacted when I read the news yesterday; many other readers’ comments showed that they thought Rybak was dead or dying imminently.

Read the entire post at HealthNewsReview.Org.

 

Cardiology in 2013: Like A Wrecking Ball 1

Perhaps I’m being overdramatic but I think  the best metaphor for the year in cardiology is Miley Cyrus on the wrecking ball.

The Guidelines Wrecking Ball: Like Hannah Montana guidelines are supposed to be boring and reliable.  But in 2013 the guidelines were more like Miley Cyrus. Like a wrecking ball, the NIH abandoned its long-entrenched and highly influential role in producing cholesterol and hypertension guidelines. Then the new ACC/AHA guidelines came along, abandoning tradition and targets and adopting a whole new approach. But the controversy didn’t go away. One easy prediction for 2014: we’ll see more debate about guidelines.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

Wrecking Ball

The New Guidelines

Miley Cyrus- Note: Cropped from larger image

The Old Guidelines

Possible New Lease On Life For Two Cardiology Drugs From Merck And J&J Reply

Early next year an FDA panel will review a new drug from Merck and a new indication for Xarelto (rivaroxaban), Johnson & Johnson’s highly successful new oral anticoagulant. Both drugs have had a rocky road getting to this stage and their success is by no means assured, but the announcement of the meeting of the FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee suggests that the companies have made progress resolving earlier problems.

Merck’s new drug application for vorapaxar (Zontivity is the proposed trade name) will be discussed on January 15 for the proposed indication of reduction of atherothrombotic events in patients with a history of myocardial infarction (MI).

On January 16 the panel will discuss the supplemental new drug application for J&J’s Xarelto (rivaroxaban) to reduce the risk of thrombotic cardiovascular events in patients in the first 90 days after suffering acute coronary syndrome.

Click here to read the full story on Forbes.

English: Logo of the .

Little Difference In Chest Pain Between Men And Women 1

In recent years the medical community has grown increasingly concerned that women with heart attacks may be less likely to receive prompt and effective treatment. The difference between the sexes in the presentation of symptoms is thought to be a major barrier to better treatment for women. But now a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine finds that a key aspect of these differences– the description of chest pain in the emergency department– may not play as big a role as previously suspected.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

JAMA Int Med

FDA Removes Restrictions On Avandia Reply

In a remarkable climax to a long-running drama, the FDA today lifted major restrictions on rosiglitazone (Avandia, GlaxoSmithKline). The drug has been the subject of  intense criticism and controversy since the 2007 publication of the famous Nissen meta-analsysis that first raised the possibility that the blockbuster diabetes drug might increase the risk of heart attack and cardiovascular death.

The FDA said its actions were “consistent with the recommendations of expert advisory committees.” In June of this year an FDA panel reviewed re-adjudicated data from the RECORD (Rosiglitazone Evaluated for Cardiovascular Outcomes and Regulation of Glycemia in Diabetes) trial and concluded that the trial had not found an elevated risk of heart attack or death associated with rosiglitazone.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

TACT Substudy Suggests Possible Strong Benefit for Chelation in Diabetics Reply

One year ago the results of the TACT trial were published in JAMA, sparking an enormous controversy over the propriety of publishing a trial suggesting that chelation therapy might be beneficial in people with cardiovascular disease. Chelation therapy has long been a staple of alternative medicine, but until the publication of TACT it had received no credit whatsoever in mainstream medicine. TACT was supported by the NIH as part of an initiaitve to test the scientific basis of alternative medical therapies.

The JAMA paper reported positive results for the prespecified subgroup of patients who had diabetes at the start of the trial. Now a new paper, presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions and published online in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, focuses on this important subgroup, and provides even stronger evidence for a possible benefit for chelation in patients with diabetes. The authors speculate that ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid (EDTA) chelation might have an effect on metal-catalyzed oxidation reactions in the development of advanced glycation end-products, which appear to play a central role in diabetic complications.

The primary endpoint of the main trial – the composite of death, MI, stroke, coronary revascularization, or hospitalization for angina – was significantly lowered from 30% in the placebo group to 26% in the chelation group (HR 0.82, 0.69-0.99, p=0.035).

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

EUROMAX Meets Primary Endpoint But Editorialist Raises Questions Reply

When started during transport to the hospital during a heart attack, bivalirudin (Angiox, Medicines Company) improves clinical outcomes and reduces major bleeding, though at the cost of a small but significant risk in stent thrombosis. The results of the European Ambulance Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) Angiography) Trial (EUROMAX) were presented today by Phillippe Gabriel Steg at the TCT conference in San Francisco and published simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.