Results of a Japanese study have given drug giant Novartis AG, more reasons to smile. According to the study published in The Lancet, the company's blood pressure drug Diovan was observed to reduce the risks of strokes and cardiovascular events by up to 40 percent.
The study titled the Jikei Heart Study, was based on 3,000 people aged 20 to 79, with high blood pressure, ischemic heart disease or congestive heart failure.
The study which was published recently in The Lancet, showed that Diovan produced a 39 percent reduction in cardiovascular events and a 40 percent cut in strokes.
The study compared Diovan when added to a conventional non-angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) versus the non-ARB therapy alone.
Accordingly, the superior benefits reported with Diovan led to an early termination of the study.
In addition to its impact on overall cardiovascular events and stroke, other benefits of Diovan demonstrated were: relative reductions of 65 percent in angina pectoris, 46 percent in heart failure and 81 percent in aortic dissection - separation of the wall layers in the body's main artery - as compared to other treatment groups.
There were few adverse events (2.5 percent overall) with no significant difference in tolerability between the groups. According to investigators, these effects were reported independently of blood pressure reductions.
Says Gordon McInnes, Professor of Medicine at the Western Infirmary in Glasgow, Scotland:"The results of this trial carry an important clinical message for physicians across the globe who are trying to protect patients from debilitating complications such as stroke.
"Jikei Heart tells us that adding Diovan to usual treatment regimens can offer substantial long-term protection", he added.
The Jikei Heart Study is the first controlled trial to assess the cardiovascular benefits of adding the angiotensin receptor blocker, or ARB, Diovan to conventional non-ARB therapy, compared to non-ARB therapy alone- in a large Japanese population. Key events evaluated as part of the primary endpoint included heart attack, stroke and hospitalization for heart failure or angina pectoris.
"Innovative clinical trials have helped Diovan to advance cardiovascular patient care," Ameet Nathwani, Global Head of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Clinical Research, Development and Medical Affairs, Novartis Pharma AG was quoted.
"The results of the independent Jikei Heart Study add to the already large body of evidence demonstrating Diovan's efficacy in lowering blood pressure and preventing cardiovascular events", he added, welcoming the results.