Anemia drug 'does not improve outcomes' in heart failure patients

13 March 2013

A drug commonly used to treat anemia in heart failure patients does not improve outcomes, according to a recent study.

Researchers from Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, in Sweden claim that darbepoetin alfa cannot reduce risk of death from heart failure or improve health in patients with anemia.

The discovery was made when patients were given either darbepoetin alfa or a placebo and 50.7 per cent of patients with the drug experienced death from any cause or hospitalisation for worsening heart failure.

This is in contrast to 49.5 per cent of the patients given a placebo who experienced similar outcomes.

Karl Swedberg, senior professor at the Sweden-based Department of Medicine, stated: "The benefits of erythropoietin-stimulating agents (ESAs) such as darbepoetin alfa to treat patients with heart failure and anemia have been questioned due to contradictory research findings."

This study shows that darbepoetin alfa is unable to stimulate the production of red blood cells in patients with heart failure and anemia.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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