The last step for many heart failure patients is a heart transplant. But with a worldwide shortage of organ donors, many patients have to survive on heart pumps, reported the online edition of New York Times.
New studies have found that clenbuterol results in significant improvement in the cardiac function of patients with heart pumps awaiting transplants, it said.
Bodybuilders sometimes turn illicitly to this asthma drug to help them bulk up, but now researchers say the drug might also help heart failure patients stay strong without the need for heart transplant.
The first US study of the drug found it was safe in a small number of heart failure patients. The drug was also found to increase skeletal muscle mass and strength, although there was no significant change in heart function.
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will conduct a small pilot study using high dose clenbuterol, the report said.