There are currently many kinds of drugs for heart failure. Among them, the new drug LCZ696 is recommended by US guidelines as a first-line treatment for chronic heart failure. LCZ696 is better than conventional drugs at reducing cardiac death and hospitalization due to heart failure. Now, researchers from Kumamoto University in Japan have revealed that LCZ696 can prevent cardiac rupture and heart failure following acute myocardial infarction which is one of the causes of chronic heart failure.

In the past, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) or Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs) were used in combination with other drugs as the initial therapy for heart failure and acute myocardial infarction. ACE inhibitors and ARBs both inhibit the system responsible for regulating blood pressure, the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System (RAAS), which causes high blood pressure when it becomes overactive.

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LCZ696 is a novel drug that combines Valsartan, a traditional antihypertensive drug, and Sacubitril, which has an organ-protective effect. Sacubitril inhibits neprilysin which decomposes hormones secreted mainly from the heart called Atrial Natriuretic Peptide (ANP), and B-type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP). A 2014 large-scale clinical trial of patients who had chronic heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (the percentage of blood exiting the heart at each contraction) reported that the number of cardiac deaths and re-hospitalizations due to heart failure was reduced significantly with LCZ696 treatment than with existing ACE inhibitors. LCZ696 is now widely used in Europe and the United States as the first treatment for chronic heart failure.

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