AstraZeneca’s Atacand (candesartan) has been approved in the USA for a new indication, the treatment of heart failure patients with left ventricular dysfunction, in combination with standard therapy that includes an ACE inhibitor. Previously the drug had only been approved to treat heart failure patients who were intolerant to ACE inhibitors [[24/02/05a]].

The company said that the drug was the first member of the angiotensin receptor blocker class proven to provide a benefit in this patient group with or without an ACE inhibitor. Moreover, it is the only ARB that provides additional benefit when added to conventional therapy that includes both an ACE inhibitor plus a beta-blocker, according to the firm.

The new labelling indicates that Atacand can be used in moderately- to severely-ill heart failure patients to reduce cardiovascular death and to reduce heart failure hospitalisations.

The evidence for this benefit comes mainly from AstraZeneca’s CHARM-Added trial, which included some 2,548 patients and found that Atacand offers a distinct benefit on top of optimally dosed ACE inhibitors in reducing cardiovascular mortality and hospitalisations in heart failure. In the study, patients receiving Atacand and an ACE inhibitor showed a 15% lower risk for cardiovascular death or hospitalisation, versus those receiving ACE inhibitors alone [[25/02/05e]].