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Life-saving pill ready for approval

7 August 2012

Life-saving pill ready for approval

A pill costing just £1.40 a day is set to be approved by the NHS. The new pill could save thousands of lives by slowing the heart rate and improving pumping ability.

Specialists say that around one in five of the 900,000 Britons with heart failure – almost 200,000 patients – could benefit from the pill, ivabradine. Data shows it can cut deaths by 17% and, as a result, reduce the NHS bill by more than a quarter.

It has been said that this new drug will be beneficial to people who cannot take beta-blockers, the current medication used to reduce heart beats. Other patients are on the maximum dose but still have heart rates above the normal level. This new drug will mean their heart rate should finally be reduced, without losing blood pressure.

Professor Carole Longson, NICE Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director, said “Although the prognosis for people with heart failure has been improving over recent years, largely as a result of better treatments, heart failure can have a significant detrimental impact on quality of life, particularly in terms of affecting a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks. In clinical trials ivabradine has been shown to have a beneficial effect in reducing mortality and improving
quality of life in people with some types of chronic heart failure.”