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You are here : 3-RX.com > Home > Heart -

Wyeth drug cuts atrial fibrillation relapse

HeartMay 06, 05

Wyeth’s drug Cordarone does a better job at preventing the return of an irregular heart rhythm than Betapace, a Schering drug designed to do the same thing, researchers said on Wednesday.

But the benefit does not occur in patients where the flow of blood to the heart muscle has been restricted by Heart disease.

The head-to-head study, published in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine, involved patients with Atrial Fibrillation, a condition where the rhythm in the upper part of the heart becomes rapid and chaotic.

Doctors have long debated which treatment is best.

Both drugs were equally effective at initially restoring a normal rhythm. Yet they had very different success rates when it came to keeping atrial fibrillation at bay.

The 267 volunteers who got the Wyeth drug, also sold under the generic name amiodarone, typically went 809 days before the irregular beat returned.

That compared with 209 days for 261 people who got the Betapace brand of sotalol made by German drugmaker Schering AG. In 137 placebo recipients, the bad beat returned in just 13 days.

That benefit disappeared in patients with ischemic heart disease. The research team, led by Dr. Bramah Singh of the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in West Los Angeles, characterized that as “an expected finding.”

The two drug companies helped pay for the study.

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