News / Health

Heart Failure Drug Not as Effective on US Patients

Study finds beta blockers work much better elsewhere

Beta blockers, used for patients experiencing heart failure, vary in effectiveness in different geographic regions, according to a new study.
Beta blockers, used for patients experiencing heart failure, vary in effectiveness in different geographic regions, according to a new study.

Multimedia

Audio
Art Chimes

Before new drugs are approved for use, they go through a multi-step approval procedure. In recent years, the process has become more globalized, but a new study suggests that the results of clinical trials in one country or region may not be relevant for patients in another.

For many new drugs, the biggest market may be in Europe and North America, but when the testing moves out of the lab and into human subjects, increasingly the venues include low- and middle-income countries.  

As a researcher and cardiologist, Dr. Christopher M. O'Connor, of the Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, has seen studies of new-drug effectiveness that seemed to have different results in different countries. So he combined the results from several studies investigating the effectiveness of drugs called beta blockers for patients with heart failure.

The studies enrolled patients in both the United States and other countries. Overall, O'Connor says, beta blockers reduced the risk of death by about 32 to 35 percent.

"But what we found is that, in the United States, it was only an eight percent reduction; in the rest of the world it was a 36 percent reduction," he says.

So the question is, why?

"We know that there's differences in the way racial and ethnic groups handle drugs, for example. The way they metabolize drugs. There are genetic differences. There are important cultural and social differences."

Cultural and social differences, he says, may be reflected in a willingness to participate in a clinical trial or follow instructions if you do.

Combining the results of studies done in several countries can mask geographic differences. A drug that seems generally beneficial across the board can be very effective in one country, but nearly useless in another. And O'Connor says that could hurt patients.

"Once these trials suggest a benefit and get approved, they're going to be used by everybody across the globe," O'Connor says. "And what you don't want to have is a situation that you approve a drug or a device based on a global trial, and then realize five years later that, well, it didn't work in this part of the world or that part of the world."

O'Connor's study of how beta blockers vary in effectiveness in different geographic regions is published online by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More