Magazine article Drug Topics

Panel Targeting Optimal Heart Failure Treatment

Magazine article Drug Topics

Panel Targeting Optimal Heart Failure Treatment

Article excerpt

More than 100 cardiologists from from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom have come together to form an advisory panel with one major goal: to provide health professionals with the educational tools needed to treat heart failure (HF) patients more effectively. The panel, known as Action HF, is focusing on the management of HF beyond merely symptom relief.

"There's more than just feeling better, there's also living longer," declared panel member Wilson Colucci, M.D., chief of cardiology, Boston Medical Center. He stressed that new therapies must be able to reduce mortality and improve patients' quality of life.

One therapeutic issue on the panel's agenda at its first meeting in San Diego was the new role of beta-blockade in HF. Yes, it's time to put aside the old school of thought tabooing the use of beta-blockers in this progressive cardiovascular disorder. Colluci referred to a sizable body of literature depicting the benefits of these drugs-over time-on the function of the weakened heart. "We never thought it would be a good idea to use beta-blockers because, initially, these [negative inotropic] agents suppress cardiac function, but with chronic therapy they tend to protect the heart from further damage. …

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