After a review of the latest evidence of Gilenya's safety aspects, the EMA (European Medicines Agency) recommends that healthcare professionals reduce the risk of heart problems, in association with the multiple sclerosis medicine Gilenya (fingolimod), by not prescribing the drug to patients with a history of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease or those who take heart-rate lowering medication. The Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) recommends that patients' that are deemed necessary to receive Gilenya should have their heart activity monitored for a minimum of one night after taking the first dose of Gilenya, and that doctors should seek advice on appropriate monitoring from a cardiologist. The new recommendations also include that all patients who start Gilenya therapy should have their heart activity monitored prior to taking the first dose and continuously for a minimum of six hours afterwards, whilst those whose heart rate is lowest six hours after receiving the first dose should be monitored for at least two hours extra.
A study published in Archives of Internal Medicine reveals that younger patients with subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) who receive the medication levothyroxine are less likely to experience ischemic heart disease events. However, according to the researchers, this finding was not seen in older patients. SCH is a relatively common condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Although the condition is often asymptomatic, recent studies have indicated that SCH is linked with increased cardiovascular events and mortality, especially in young and middle-aged patients. However, the researchers highlight that those epidemiologic associations do not verify that treatment of SCH would be effective. The researchers explain: "Thus, only adequately powered randomized controlled intervention trials will be able to demonstrate whether treatment of SCH is worthwhile in terms of improvement in both cardiovascular disease risk and symptoms.
Structural changes in heart muscle cells after heart failure can be reversed by allowing the heart to rest, according to research at Imperial College London. Findings from a study in rats published in the European Journal of Heart Failure show that the condition's effects on heart muscle cells are not permanent, as has generally been thought. The discovery could open the door to new treatment strategies. Heart failure means that the heart muscle is too weak or stiff to pump blood as effectively as it needs to, and it is commonly the result of a heart attack. Around 750, 000 people in Britain are living with heart failure. Severe heart failure carries a risk of death within one year which is worse than most cancers, and new heart failure treatments are badly needed. Patients with advanced heart failure are sometimes fitted with a left ventricle assist device (LVAD).
Individuals who suffer from autoimmune diseases also display a tendency to develop atherosclerosis - the condition popularly known as hardening of the arteries. Clinical researchers at LMU, in collaboration with colleagues in WÃ rzburg, have now discovered a mechanism which helps to explain the connection between the two types of disorder. The link is provided by a specific class of immune cells called plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs). pDCs respond to DNA released from damaged and dying cells by secreting interferon proteins which stimulate the immune reactions that underlie autoimmune diseases. The new study shows that stimulation of pDCs by a specific DNA-protein complex contributes to the progression of atherosclerosis. The findings may have implications for new strategies for the treatment of a whole spectrum of conditions that are associated with chronic inflammatory reactions.
Chest pain patients educated about their future heart attack risk and involved in deciding care options were more likely than less-aware patients to opt out of stress testing, according to research in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, an American Heart Association journal. Chest pain, the second most common reason people seek emergency care at U.S. hospitals, accounts for 8 million patient visits and about $8 billion in healthcare costs annually, researchers said. "To avoid missing a diagnosis of heart attack, emergency physicians often admit patients to observation units for stress testing, even though patients are at a very low risk for heart attack, " said Erik P. Hess, M.D., M.Sc., lead author of the study and emergency room (ER) consultant at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.