A long-acting form of Bayer’s blood pressure drug Adalat prevents heart attacks and strokes in angina patients and cuts the need for operations to treat blood vessel blockages, a study showed on Sunday.
Adalat was Bayer’s second-biggest drug last year with sales of $1817 million and is key for the German pharmaceuticals and chemicals group, which has few big-selling medicines and a poor research pipeline. Details of the study, involving more than 77,600 patients and released at the annual congress of the European Society of Cardiology, showed that nifedipine, or Adalat, was safe for patients on other drugs for stable angina. Nifedipine prevented heart attacks and strokes in patients suffering from both angina and high blood pressure, while the number of patients who needed hospital procedures to treat blockages of blood vessels was reduced by 13 percent. Long-acting nifedipine also reduced the need for hospitalisation for heart failure in patients with stable angina, the Bayer-funded study showed. Concerns about Adalat were raised nine years ago when a researcher suggested that a short-acting form of the drug and other similar medications were unsafe and should not be used in patients with coronary heart disease or high blood pressure. Sales of the drug fell more than 35 percent last year due to competition from generic forms of the medicine, especially in the United States. (Source: Reuters Health News: European Society of Cardiology: August 2004.)