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New Drug May Revolutionize Heart Failure Treatment

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An experimental drug could be one of the greatest advances in protecting against heart failure in more than 25 years, cutting the risk of death or hospitalization due to the condition by 20 percent, researchers said. The drug — currently called LCZ696 — produced by the Swiss company Novartis cut the risk of death by a fifth when compared to an older drug, according to a study published Saturday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The drug “may well represent a new threshold of hope” for patients, Dr. Mariell Jessup, a former American Heart Association president, said in a statement.

The trial was conducted by Novartis and reviewed by an independent monitoring committee, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. The trial, which began in December 2011, was halted early because the independent monitors deemed LCZ696 was performing significantly better than the older drug, enalapril, Novartis said. The company will seek approval of the drug in the U.S. by the end of the year, and it could be on the market by 2015, according to the American Heart Association.

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— Elisha Fieldstadt