Read More About Medicines in Development for Heart Disease & Stroke
Medicines in Development for Heart Disease & Stroke
Biopharmaceutical research companies are developing 299 new medicines for two of the leading causes of death of Americans—heart disease and stroke. The work continues the momentum of drug discovery that has helped cut deaths from these diseases by 28 percent between 1997 and 2007. All of the medicines are either in clinical trials or awaiting review by the Food and Drug Administration.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, heart disease has topped the list of killer diseases every year but one since 1900.
Thanks in large part to new drug treatments, death rates from heart disease and stroke are falling. In 2008, stroke dropped to the fourth leading cause of death after being the third for more than 50 years. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), if death rates were the same as those of 30 years ago, 815,000 more Americans would die of heart disease annually and 250,000 more would die of stroke. This reduction in death rates is “one of the great triumphs of medicine in the past 50 years,” according to cardiologist Dr. Eugene Braunwald of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Much of the progress is due to the development of effective medicines to control both blood pressure and cholesterol, according to officials at the NHLBI. In addition, treatment of heart attacks has vastly improved. Twenty-five years ago, the treatment for heart attacks was simply bed rest. Today, doctors have medicines that can stop a heart attack in mid-stream, as well as other effective treatments.
The war against heart disease and stroke is not yet won. According to the American Heart Association, every 39 seconds an American dies from cardiovascular disease, and more than 82 million Americans have at least one type of the disease. Many people who survive heart attacks develop heart failure, a chronic disease that affects 5.7 million Americans.
The cost of these diseases to American society is more than $503 billion a year. The medicines in development include 43 for lipid disorders, such as high cholesterol, 36 for heart failure, 27 for high blood pressure, 17 for heart attacks, and 27 for stroke. Many of the potential medicines use cutting-edge technologies and new scientific approaches.
These new medicines promise to continue the already remarkable progress against heart disease and stroke and to raise the quality of life for patients suffering from these diseases.