Dual action drug fights heart failure

DALLAS, July 30 A dual-action drug, called omapatrilat, was found to be as good as a standard ACE-inhibitor in reducing the risk of death and hospitalization from heart failure, according to a report in today's rapid track Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

"The trial shows that omapatrilat is effective in treating heart failure," says lead researcher Milton Packer, M.D., of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. "And we have some indications that omapatrilat may be superior to a standard ACE inhibitor in some individuals. Our data suggests that this drug may have a special role in treating people who have both high blood pressure and heart failure."

Researchers analyzed the effects of the drug omapatrilat, which blocks both angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and neutral endopeptidase (NEP). In people with high blood pressure, omapatrilat was better than ACE inhibitors alone in lowering blood pressure. They hypothesized that the drug could also be better than an ACE inhibitor in patients with heart failure because it not only blocks ACE but also blocks NEP one of the enzymes responsible for breaking down peptides that benefit heart function. In animal studies, simultaneous inhibition of both ACE and NEP produced greater benefits than did ACE inhibition alone.

The trial [called the Omapatrilat Vs. Enalapril Randomized Trial of Utility in Reducing Events (OVERTURE) trial] compared omapatrilat with enalapril, a standard ACE inhibitor. The trial enrolled 5770 patients with heart failure at 704 institutions in 42 countries. Participants had heart failure for more than two months, had left ventricular ejection fraction of 30 percent or less and had been hospitalized for heart failure within the previous year. They were randomly assigned: 2886 to the omapatrilat group and 2884 to the enalapril group. The average age of each group was about 63 years, and about 80 percent of the two groups were men.

Contact: Carole Bullock
American Heart Association

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