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NICE issues draft guidance on new heart failure drug

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Nurses may soon have the option of using ivabradine (Procoralan) to treat patients with chronic heart failure, under draft guidance issued today by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

NICE recommends that ivabradine could be used either in combination with standard therapy, including ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers and aldosterone antagonists, or alone when beta-blocker therapy is not possible.

The draft guidance, which has not yet been issued to the NHS, also recommends that treatment with ivabradine should not be initiated until standard therapies used to manage heart failure have been optimised and stabilised over a four-week period.

Patients treated for heart failure can expect to see improved quality of life and life expectancy, as well as avoiding hospitalisation. Current NICE guidance recommends that all patients are considered for initial treatment with beta-blockers and an ACE inhibitor where possible.

NICE health technology evaluation centre director Professor Carole Longson said: “Although the prognosis for people with heart failure has been improving over recent years, largely as a result of better treatments, heart failure can have a significant detrimental impact on quality of life, particularly in terms of affecting a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks.

“In clinical trials ivabradine has been shown to have a beneficial effect in reducing mortality and improving quality of life in people with some types of chronic heart failure.”

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