New approved drug reduces risk of death from heart conditions compared to 'gold standard'

Mr Chew Bak Mok, 70, was one of 60 initial heart disease patients selected by the National Heart Centre to try the drug.
Mr Chew Bak Mok, 70, was one of 60 initial heart disease patients selected by the National Heart Centre to try the drug. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - A new drug has been approved which has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death, as well as hospitalisation for patients with chronic heart failure.

This heart failure drug, called Entresto, has been approved by the Health Sciences Authority after a worldwide trial involving 8,442 patients, announced pharmaceutical giant Novartis on Monday.

Singapore was also involved in the trial, with 32 participating patients.

The largest done so far, the trial found that the new drug "significantly" reduced the risk of cardiovascular death when compared to the current "gold standard" drug, enalapril, said Novartis.

Dr Ong Hean Yee, senior consultant and head of the department of cardiology at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, said: "Over the past 30 years, the number of drugs which have failed in the treatment of heart failure far outnumbered the ones which have worked.

"But the small community of doctors looking after this serious heart condition continued to look for new treatments which led to us taking part in (the trial)."