P&S Journal: Spring 1994, Vol.14, No.2
Centering on Heart Failure
Center Researches New Drugs
One of the center's major clinical research thrusts for the next year is the use of new drugs to treat heart failure. One drug, carvedilol, will be studied in conjunction with conventional therapy to see if the
drug can correct some of the neurohormonal defects in heart failure patients. Carvedilol, a beta-blocker manufactured by SmithKline Beecham, has been tested for the past three years in double-blind placebo-controlled studies. The subjects are patients already on a conventional drug regimen consisting of a diuretic, digoxin, and an ACE inhibitor, a vasoconstrictor that prevents the formation of angiotensin II. CPMC is the coordinating center for the study.
Preliminary results from the study indicate that patients on carvedilol have improved cardiac function and can exercise for longer periods without fatigue. "Although most physicians in medical school were taught not to use a beta-blocker in heart failure because it depresses heart function," says Dr. Packer, "the study is showing that carvedilol can ameliorate some of the abnormalities of the neurohormonal environment. Patients feel better and can do more."