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Cardiovascular Health Channel
Reported March 4, 2013

Bad Meds for Heart Failure

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Heart failure, where the heart is not able to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, can be a very serious condition but luckily it is also treatable. Several different medications used to treat heart failure are available, though patients may want to avoid the drug spironolactone. According to a new German study, long-term treatment with spironolactone does not improve symptoms or quality of life for heart failure patients.

Between March 2007 and April 2012, researchers studied 422 patients with chronic New York Heart Association class II or III heart failure, preserved left ventricular ejection fraction of 50% or greater, and evidence of diastolic dysfunction. The patients were given either 25mg of spironolactone or a placebo each day and also had twelve months of follow up.

In this study, researchers focused on heart failure patients with preserved ejection fraction, the percentage of blood that is pumped out of a filled ventricle as a result of a heartbeat, of 50% or higher because they make up 50% of all HF patients.

Although spironolactone did increase left ventricular diastolic function, the drug made no difference in the patients’ quality of life or heart failure symptoms compared to the placebo. Spironolactone also did not improve maximal exercise capacity and even reduced participants’ six minute walking distance.

Further studies testing the effectiveness of spironolactone for treating heart failure should be done to confirm these results, but for now people may want to opt for a different medication.

SOURCE: JAMA, February 2013

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