Calcium Supplements Linked To Increased Cardiovascular Risk

–But the observational study suggested an overall benefit for dietary calcium. A new observational study finds that calcium supplements may increase cardiovascular risk. By contrast, dietary calcium was linked to a protective effect. Many people– in particular, older women– take calcium supplements to prevent or treat osteoporosis, though the supporting evidence for this use is…

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FDA Reaffirms Safety And Efficacy Of Rivaroxaban

–FDA says no changes needed to the rivaroxaban label. Following a year of controversy and uncertainty relating to the anticoagulant drug rivaroxaban (Xarelto, Johnson & Johnson), the FDA has reaffirmed the drug’s safety and efficacy. Rivaroxaban is approved for stroke reduction in patients with atrial fibrillation. The indication is based on results of the ROCKET-AF…

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No, $75 Million Won’t Cure Heart Disease Or Reinvent Science

–Silicon Valley hype and hubris come to cardiology. We may be close to peak hype and hubris in cardiology. This week some of the smartest people on the planet said that $75 million can help find new ways to prevent heart disease AND, as if that’s not enough, completely reinvent the way we do science….

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LDL-Lowering Genetic Variants Linked to Diabetes Risk

–What can genetics tell us about diabetes incidence with cholesterol drugs? Editor’s note: The following guest post was contributed by Marilyn Mann, a well-known advocate for patients with familial hypercholesterolemia and a patient advisor to Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, several LDL-lowering genetic…

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Trump’s Risk For A Cardiac Event Is Seven Times Hilary Clinton’s Risk

Editor’s note: The following guest post is reprinted with permission from Dr. Anthony Pearson, a cardiologist who is the medical director of the Echocardiography Laboratory and Anticoagulation Clinic at St. Lukes Hospital, Chesterfield, Missouri. Dr. Pearson writes The Skeptical Cardiologist blog, where this post originally appeared. Donald Trump recently appeared on the Dr. Oz show and handed a letter to the…

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More Bleeding Linked To Rivaroxaban In Observational Study

–Compared to dabigatran, rivaroxaban was associated with more intracranial and other serious bleeds. A new observational study finds that patients who take rivaroxaban (Xarelto, Johnson & Johnson) may be more likely to have serious bleeding events than patients who take dabigatran (Pradaxa, Boehringer Ingelheim). In a paper published in JAMA Internal Medicine, David Graham and…

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Ticagrelor No Better Than Clopidogrel In Peripheral Artery Disease

AstraZeneca announces top-line results from EUCLID trial ahead of the AHA. Ticagrelor is no better than clopidogrel in patients who have peripheral artery disease, a large new study will show. On Tuesday morning AstraZeneca announced the top line results of the EUCLID (Examining Use of Ticagrelor in PAD) trial. The full results will be presented…

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More Blasts Of Concern Over ROCKET-AF

The controversy over the big Xarelto trial does not appear to be going away. A new investigation published in the BMJ raises more troubling questions about the ROCKET-AF trial, which compared the novel oral anticoagulant rivaroxaban (Xarelto, Johnson & Johnson) to warfarin in patients with atrial fibrillation. The controversy about the trial first unfolded last…

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NIH Funds Second Round Of Controversial Chelation Tria

–TACT2 will test chelation in heart attack patients with diabetes. The NIH has agreed to fund a second round of a highly controversial study testing the possible benefits of chelation therapy in heart attack patients with diabetes. The second Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT2), now recruiting patients at more than 100 clinical sites, is…

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Zombie Lab Sues Former Execs, Owners, And Sales Force

–Yet more fallout from the catastrophic bankruptcy of HDL Lab The Zombie Lab case just got even messier. Last Friday the trustee for the bankrupt Health Diagnostic Laboratory (HDL) filed a massive lawsuit against the former executives, owners, sales force members, and others who profited from HDL. The 205-page lawsuit includes a detailed narrative of…

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Debate: Switching From Standard HF Therapy To Entresto

–A debate at the HFSA in Orlando over whether all patients tolerating standard therapy should be switched to Entresto. Editor’s Note: Heart failure specialist Eiran Z. Gorodeski (Cleveland Clinic) wrote this account of an important debate on Monday at the Heart Failure Society of America meeting in Orlando. (This account has been updated by Gorodeski with…

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American Heart Association and American Society Of Hypertension Explore Merger

–The two US blood pressure societies want to become ‘a single force multiplier in the fight against hypertension’ The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Society of Hypertension (ASH) are officially exploring a merger. In a message sent to ASH members, ASH president John Bisognano (University of Rochester) said that “for the past several…

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Zombie Lab Company Sics Bill Collectors On Doctors Who Took Kickbacks

–The liquidating trustee for HDL Lab is seeking to reclaim kickbacks paid to doctors who ordered the company’s tests. Many doctors who ordered tests in the past from Health Diagnostic Laboratory (HDL) are now opening some unexpected and very unwelcome letters. HDL was the billion dollar lab company with a meteoric rise and an even…

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The Lancet Versus BMJ: Dispatch From The Statin Wars

–The editors of the two top UK medical journals are in a bitter fight over statins. The editors of the two top medical journals in the UK are at war over statins. The bitter fight has its origins in the 2014 publication in the BMJ of two articles that were highly critical of statins. Rory…

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SPRINTing to Lower BP Targets? Not So Fast

–Hypertension experts disagree about how to apply SPRINT results in the real world.  Once again blood pressure experts are disagreeing about how to interpret SPRINT and how its results should be applied in the real world. A new study claims that applying the SPRINT results to US patients who meet SPRINT criteria would prevent more…

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How Sweet: Sugar Industry Made Fat the Villain

–Harvard researchers received sugar industry money to write a NEJM review. Newly uncovered documents reveal that 50 years ago the sugar industry gave secret support to prominent Harvard researchers to write an influential series of articles in the New England Journal of Medicine that downplayed the negative effects of sugar. Instead, the articles shifted the blame…

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Guest Post: JACC Retracts AF Ablation Trial

Editor’s note: This guest post by Dalmeet Singh Chawla is reprinted with the permission of Retraction Watch, where it was originally published in a slightly different form. –Lead author Andrea Natale claims undue industry influence. The Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) has retracted a recently published paper that questioned the effectiveness of a treatment for atrial…

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Statin Trialists Seek To Bury Debate With Evidence

–A Lancet review claims overwhelming evidence in favor of statins for both primary and secondary prevention. Some disagree. A large group of statin researchers argue forcefully that the debate over statins should be ended because the evidence in favor of statins is overwhelming and incontrovertible. But some outsiders say the issue is more nuanced and…

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SPRINT: More Controversy And Confusion About ‘Landmark’ Trial

–Blood pressure experts raise new questions and concerns about the controversial trial. More questions and concerns are being raised about SPRINT, the NIH’s “landmark” blood pressure lowering trial. In sharp contrast to the enormous amount of initial hype, many hypertension experts are now saying that the SPRINT trial is difficult to interpret and can’t be readily…

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Experts Weigh In On The Decline In Cardiovascular Drug Development

–CV disease is the top killer but pharma is pulling back on developing new drugs. Although cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the world fewer cardiovascular drugs are under development now than in the past, according to a study published in JACC: Basic to Translational Science. Thomas Hwang and colleagues at…

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New Heart Failure Drug Struggles To Find Its Footing

–Experts offer insight about Entresto at the ESC. Despite its success in a large and widely praised clinical trial the novel heart failure drug Entresto (sacubitril/valsartan, Novartis) has been struggling to gain a substantial foothold in the marketplace. Now new papers and presentations and commentary from experts at the European Society of Cardiology meeting are…

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Cardiologists: Thumbs Down To SPRINT

[Updated, August 29, August 30] –SPRINT should not be used in guidelines to lower blood pressure targets. Should the SPRINT trial be used by guideline committees to lower systolic blood pressure targets? After listening to a high-powered debate at the European Society of Cardiology meeting in Rome on Sunday, most audience members gave thumbs down…

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Dollars For Heart Docs: 2015 Edition

–Cardiologists received more than $200 million from industry in 2015. In 2015 cardiologists and other cardiovascular specialists received more than $200 million dollars from industry, according to new data released by Medicare. More than 30,000 physicians in cardiovascular medicine received industry payments in 2015, though many of these payments were relatively small amounts. But more…

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Anticipated Heart Failure Trial Delayed Until November

–The results of TRUE-AHF won’t be presented at the ESC. The results of a highly anticipated and already-delayed clinical trial won’t be presented until November at the American Heart Association meeting in New Orleans. Presentation of the trial was originally scheduled earlier his year as a late-breaking presentation at the American College of Cardiology meeting…

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FDA Delays Approval Of First Agent To Reverse Effect Of New Anticoagulants

  Portola Pharmaceuticals announced late on Wednesday evening that it had received a complete response letter (CRL) from the FDA regarding its Biologics License Application (BLA) for AndexXa (andexanet alfa). Approval for the drug had been widely expected earlier in the day, which was the drug’s PDUFA date. The drug had been on an accelerated…

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