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NICE recommends ‘game-changing’ heart failure drug



NICE has given the green light in new guidance to a heart failure drug hailed as a ‘game changer’ by experts, but only as a second-line treatment.

The drug, a sacubitril valsartan combination, can be offered to patients with reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (≤35%), but only if they are currently taking a stable dose of ACE inhibitors or ARBs and their symptoms have failed to respond to treatment. NICE recommends that treatment should be initiated by a heart failure specialist.

NICE said the treatment will be available to more than 100,000 patients and could reduce some of the 30,000 related hospital admissions each year. But it added that it will not be available to all heart failure patients as it is not ’cost effective’ to give to patients with less severe symptoms. 

It comes as Scottish regulator SIGN last month recommended that GPs could offer sacubitril valsartan – branded Entresto – as second-line treatment to patients with decreased systolic function, after evidence showed that it reduced hospital admissions.