Wednesday, 14 November 2007

AstraZeneca's Crestor fails in heart-failure study

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Heart-failure patients given AstraZeneca Plc's Crestor and standard drugs are just as likely to have heart attacks and strokes or die of cardiovascular problems as those on standard therapy alone, researchers said on Monday.

The news is a blow for Britain's second-biggest drug company, which had hoped to establish Crestor as the first cholesterol-lowering statin to show clear benefits in treating elderly patients with the chronic heart condition.

Why these benefits did not translate into better outcomes is not clear but could be due to the nature of heart failure, John Kjekshus of the University of Oslo and colleagues told the annual meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA) in Orlando, Florida.

"Our findings suggest the major cause of death in these patients was likely not to be related to atherosclerotic events, where benefit with statins in non-heart failure patients has been demonstrated, but instead may have been caused by the deterioration of failing heart muscle damaged beyond repair," he said in a statement.

For those who are familiar with the real deal between cholesterol lowering drugs (i.e. statins) this news is no surprise.

Taking statin could lower your cholesterol, but it could also deplete the muscles of a vital compound called CoEnzyme Q10. The heart, which is an organ mainly composed of muscles, is of course also affected. But it does make me wonder why the researchers didn't speculate on this. Supplementing patients with CoEnzyme Q10 should have been a recommendation for future study. Instead, based on the last paragraph I quoted above, no explanation was given on why the heart muscle deteriorate.

It could have been due to degeneration of heart tissue that resulted from heart failure. But I feel that it's more likely because of the depletion of CoEnzyme Q10.

On the other hand, it could save patients money if doctors realize the uselessness of the drug. But doubt this will happen anytime soon. Not with the highly effective Big Pharma propaganda machines (med reps and advertisements) still rolling.

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