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More hope after heart failure

researching heart disease on laptop Recently, significant progress has been made in the treatment of heart failure (HF). Two medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2015 have been incorporated into national HF treatment guidelines, which help providers determine the best approach for treating the condition. The American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association and Heart Failure Society of America updated their guidelines for treating HF, referring to the new drugs as “a milestone in the evolution of care for patients with heart failure.” The updated guidelines could improve treatment significantly for many patients with the disease.

Angiotensin-receptor neprilysin inhibitor
Entresto®, an angiotensin-receptor neprilysin inhibitor, is actually a combination of two different medications, valsartan and sacubitril. It relaxes blood vessels to allow for better blood flow. Approval and recommendation gained traction when studies showed that patients who received this combination medication had fewer HF-related hospitalizations and lower mortality rates.

Ivabradine
The treatment guidelines also recommend Ivabradine (Corlanor®) for people with HF who have a resting heart rate of more than 70 beats per minute and are either on the maximum dose of beta blockers or can’t take them. Ivabradine works by changing the heart’s electrical activity to slow down the heart rate, and has been shown to decrease the risk of hospitalization. Providers can prescribe the drug on its own or with a beta blocker.

These new medications offer an improved quality of life for the close to 6 million people in America who are living with HF. If you have HF and currently are taking an ACE inhibitor or beta blocker, speak with your provider to learn more about these medications, and if you could benefit from taking either one.