London, Nov 15 (ANI): Heart-patients may soon get respite from expensive treatments and surgeries as a two-pounds-a-day pill could save tens of thousands of lives a year, claim scientists.
Eplerenone apparently reduces the risk of death by almost 40 per cent and patients would be less likely to need long-term care or need surgery such as bypass operations.
Currently, doctors give patients the pill, also known Inspra, only if the standard medications do not work.
However, the researchers said that if all heart disease patients were also prescribed the drug it would save millions every year through cost of treatment and loss of earnings.
The daily pill costs between 1.50 pounds and 2 pounds a day. It works by reducing the effects of the potentially harmful hormones cortisol and aldosterone, which are produced excessively in those with heart disease.
The University of Glasgow researchers-in collaboration with doctors from France, the U.S., Sweden and the Netherlands-compared the effects of the drug on almost 3,000 patients over four years.
Their study showed that those who took the drug were 37 per cent less likely to die or need hospital treatment.
"Everyone with heart failure should be considered for treatment with a drug of this type - it will make patients feel better, stay out of hospital and live longer," the Daily Mail quoted John McMurray of the University of Glasgow, as saying.
"Eplerenone is not expensive and there is a related, generic drug, spironolactone, with similar properties, which is likely to have similar effects.
"This type of treatment should be available and affordable across the globe," he said.
The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. (ANI)