Deadly heart disease treatable with old drug

April 3rd, 2009 - 11:44 am ICT by IANS  

Sydney, April 3 (IANS) An old drug can treat a heart disease that triggers sudden death among young people.
Derek Laver, associate professor, University of Newcastle, and his colleagues have found that Flecainide, used to treat arrhythmias or irregular beats, could also be used to treat CPVT.

CVPT is arrhythmia induced by emotional stress or exercise. It accounts for 15 percent of inexplicable cardiac deaths in people under the age of 30.

Laver said CPVT was caused by too much calcium being released from calcium stores within the heart cells. “Correct calcium flow within the heart cells is essential for the heart to function properly,” he explained.

“Calcium is released from the stores into the heart cells through specific channels and we have found that Flecainide reduces the ability of these channels to release calcium, thereby directly counteracting the cause of CPVT.”

Currently, beta-blockers are used to treat CPVT but 37 percent of patients are unresponsive and 24 percent suffer sudden cardiac death within 10 years of beginning treatment, said a university release.

“Current treatments are largely ineffective and we need new and more effective anti-arrhythmic drugs,” Laver said. “We have now discovered something close to an ideal drug for this rare arrhythmia disorder.”

The study was published in Nature Medicine.

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