Chronic heart failure patients can now be treated with a new drug, according to National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines published today.
Ivabradine, marketed under the trade name Procoralan, has been recommended as a treatment option for patients with chronic heart failure (NYHA class II to IVi).
The clinical guidance body stipulated that the drug should only be prescribed to those with systolic dysfunction, who are in sinus rhythm and whose heart rate is 75bpm or higher, and who have a left ventricular ejection fraction of 35% or less.
Ivabradine should be taken together with standard medication, including beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and aldosterone antagonists, or when beta-blockers are contraindicated or not tolerated, NICE said.
A four-week stabilisation period on optimised standard therapy should also be observed before prescribing ivabradine, the guidance states.
All treatments involving the newly-recommended drug should be instigated by a heart failure specialist with access to a multi-disciplinary heart failure team, according to the new guidelines.
Dose titration and monitoring should be carried out by a heart failure specialist or, in primary care, by a GP with a special interest in heart failure or a heart failure specialist nurse.