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Ivabradine lifesaving £1.40 heart pill gets European approval

A new pill costing only £1.40 a day that could save the lives of thousands of heart failure patients every year has been approved by European regulators.Ivabradine lifesaving £1.40 heart pill gets European approvalNew data on Ivabradine suggested it could cut death rates by up to 39 per cent, while experts said it could prevent between 5,000 and 10,000 deaths a year.

The drug was also found to reduce the need for patients to be treated in hospital for heart failure, which affects about 900,000 people in Britain, by 30 per cent.

The drug has been approved by European regulators but has yet to be assessed for widespread use on the NHS as the killer quango NICE has yet to approve it.

It costs £1.40 a day and is already prescribed for patients in this country with angina.

It could reduce the risk of death from all types of cardiovascular disease by 17 per cent and the risk of death from all causes by 17 per cent.

In addition, the drug, which slows down the heart rate, was found to cut the risk of heart failure patients requiring treatment by 30 per cent. The study involved 6,505 people in 37 countries, including Britain.

Heart failure occurs when the organ becomes too weak to pump blood efficiently round the body, leading to fatigue, breathlessness, a higher heart rate and other problems.

Prof Martin Cowie, a consultant cardiologist and specialist in heart failure at the Royal Brompton Hospital in central London, and the British lead investigator for the study, said: “Heart failure is a very common problem, affecting approximately 1 per cent of the population.

“The decision to approve this new indication for ivabradine is great news for both doctors and patients, and is a significant step forward in the management of heart failure.”

Prof Cowie added: “While Ace inhibitors and beta-blockers remain very important in the treatment of this condition, the results of the trial demonstrate the value that a reduction in heart rate with ivabradine can bring both in terms of improving symptoms and preventing disease progression, but also in helping patients return to normal daily activities and increasing their enjoyment of life.”

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