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Heart drug improves life expectancy


There is some good news for heart failure patients’ life expectancy, in a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

There is some good news for heart failure patients’ life expectancy, in a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Related: "Beyond the pill": Novartis eyes new pricing model for heart failure drug

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital found that heart failure patients with reduced ejection fraction treated with Entresto (sacubitril-valsartan) have a projected increased life expectancy of one and a half to two years, as compared to those treated with Vasotec (enalapril), the current standard of care in heart failure.

In addition, Entresto reduced the risk of cardiovascular death or heart failure hospitalization by 20 percent and mortality by 16 percent in patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction, compared to Vasotec. The study was funded by Novartis, the manufacturer of Entresto.


"These results help both patients and their physicians understand the impact of switching from the standard of care to Entresto, in terms of a benefit that they can easily understand," said Scott D. Solomon, MD, senior author and director of Non-Invasive Cardiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "Patients want to know how much longer they are going to live, rather than how much their risk will be reduced."

Using an actuarial method, also used by insurance companies, researchers estimated that life could be prolonged one and a half to two years in a 55-year-old patient with heart failure, and slightly less in a 65 year old. “This novel way of looking at the benefit has not previously been reported,” Solomon told FormularyWatch.

Solomon and other researchers examined data from 8,399 patients in the PARADIGM-HF study, the largest clinical trial ever conducted in heart failure. Researchers derived expected survival times using data from the beginning of the study and the age at the time of a cardiovascular event. An average duration of event-free survival was estimated using long-term follow up data from the clinical trial.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers are also studying Entresto’s effectiveness in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, for which there is no approved therapy. “This trial, called PARAGON-HF, is enrolling 4,600 patients, and is well underway,” Solomon said.

Read next: Drugmakers debate pricing, legislation

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