Heart Beat: Follow-up: Limit Natrecor to hospital use, say experts

Heart Beat

Follow-up: Limit Natrecor to hospital use, say experts

An independent panel of experts took a hard look at the safety of Natrecor (nesiritide), a controversial heart failure drug, and how it is used during the summer of 2005.

The panel, headed by Dr. Eugene Braunwald, a preeminent heart failure specialist and member of the Harvard Heart Letter editorial board, made these recommendations:

  1. Natrecor should be used only for people who go to the emergency room or who are hospitalized for severe shortness of breath due to heart failure.

  2. The drug should not be used in the doctor's office or a clinic as a routine "tune-up" to keep heart failure from getting worse.

If you have been getting routine infusions of Natrecor, ask your doctor why. Make sure he or she knows about the Braunwald report. So far, there is no evidence that routine Natrecor infusions work, and hints that they may do more harm than good. A clinical trial is underway to sort out who, if anyone, might benefit from a series of Natrecor infusions.

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