Heart Beat: FDA okays new drug for tough-to-treat chest pain

Heart Beat

FDA okays new drug for tough-to-treat chest pain

Published: April, 2006

A new drug approved in January 2006 could offer relief for the thousands of Americans with chest pain (angina) that isn't controlled by standard drug therapy.

Ranexa (ranolazine) is the first new drug approved for angina since the mid-1990s. The older standbys — beta blockers, nitrates, and calcium-channel blockers — either slow the heart so it needs less oxygen or open blood vessels so they can deliver more oxygen-rich blood. "Ranexa comes at angina from a completely different direction," says Dr. Peter H. Stone, co-director of the cardiac care unit at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. It prompts heart cells to burn sugar instead of fat. This takes less oxygen per unit of energy generated, an important saving when parts of the heart aren't getting enough oxygen.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise

New subscriptions to Harvard Health Online are temporarily unavailable. Click the button below to learn about our other subscription offers.

Learn More »