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VERAPAMIL T.I.D. REDUCES SECOND HEART ATTACKS BY 23%

Executive Summary

VERAPAMIL T.I.D. REDUCES SECOND HEART ATTACKS BY 23%, according to results of the Danish Verapamil Infarction Trial (DAVIT II) presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology March 22 in New Orleans. Danish researcher Fischer Hansen, MD, reported that "we demonstrated in DAVIT II a reduction in hazard ratio of all patients to the magnitude of 20-23% and a significant reduction in major events, [such as] first reinfarction and first cardiac event." The study also found a reduction in deaths of 20% that was not statistically significant. In the trial, 1,775 patients received verapamil 120 mg or placebo three times daily for 12-18 months after suffering a myocardial infarction. The 18-month mortality rate for all placebo patients was 13.8% compared to 11.1% in the verapamil group. The reinfarction rate after 18 months was 13.2% for placebo and 11% for verapamil. The calcium channel blocker reduced cardiac event rate by 20%. Although the reduction in mortality in the verapamil group was not statistically significant in the overall post-MI population, the study did find a statistically significant reduction in mortality of 36% with verapamil in patients who did not experience heart failure. The subgroup without heart failure represented about two-thirds of the total study population. Patients who did not have heart failure and were taking verapamil were also 33% less likely to have a second heart attack. "These results are very well in accordance with the retrospective analysis of the DAVIT I study," which found a reduction in mortality with verapamil from 35% to 45%, Hansen noted. "Verapamil seems to be a very effective agent for treatment after acute myocardial infarction to prevent reinfarction and death." The calcium channel blocker verapamil is marketed in the U.S. by Searle, under the brand name Calan, and Knoll, under the brand name Isoptin, for the treatment of angina and hypertension. Both companies also market sustained release versions for the treatment of hypertension.
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