Heart disease is the number one killer disease with about 80 million Americans suffering from this disease. Majority of patients suffering from heart disease are using multiple drugs that in turn are compromising the overall health of these heart patients. A number of leading cardiologists who attended the annual scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) that was held on March 9-11 in San Francisco has raised concerns with each of them voicing criticism over the use of multiple drugs in the treatment of heart disease.
The cardiologists opined that eliminating certain drugs would potentially improve care without compromising on the treatment related with heart disease. As evidence is emerging that, some medications are not effective. According to Dr. Steven Nissen – Head of the Cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic and past president of the ACC, he cast doubt whether the benefits are additive or not. The cardiologists are giving a second look on certain medications that include AbbVie’s Niaspan or prescription drug niacin that aims to raise good cholesterol. The other well known so called fenofibrate such as the top selling branded drug TriCor (also from the stables of AbbVie) that lowers the blood fats called triglycerides and beta blockers most of which are inexpensive older generics are also under the scanner of these cardiologists.
Dr. Harlan Krumholz – a Yale University professor of Cardiology and Public Health who carried on research on many patients found using the Medicare data that the heart failure patients or those whose hearts are too weak to pump blood sufficiently were prescribed on an average of 12 drugs and in some instances as many as 30. Many drugs were prescribed widely even though the evidence that they actually work is weak. There were also unexpected side effects that arose in a huge study of a Merck & Co. long lasting niacin drug that is aimed at raising the good HDL cholesterol according to the data released at the conference on Saturday. The Fenofibrate including the AbbVie’s TrioCor has also failed to show benefit in two separate studies. As per Professor of Medicine at the New York University, Dr. Richard Stein who is also the spokesperson of American Heart Association or AHA estimated that an average patient with heart disease truly needs to take seven to nine pills each day in order to control the various risk factors of heart disease. Beyond that, it makes sense to be restrictive.