Pepcid May Help Treat Heart Failure
It's Too Soon to Know for Sure; No Recommendations Yet for Patients
Sept. 25, 2006 -- Pepcid, a common heartburn medicine, may help treat heart
failure, a new study shows.
The study, published in the Journal of the American College of
Cardiology, comes from Japan.
Pepcid blocks histamine H2 receptors found in the stomach.
Those receptors are also found in the heart, prompting the researchers to
ask whether blocking those receptors with Pepcid might help counter heart
But a journal editorial cautions against using Pepcid as a heart failure
treatment just yet.
The study's findings are "interesting" but they have to be checked,
write the editorialists.
Meanwhile, "no one is recommending [Pepcid] or any other histamine
receptor blockers to treat patients with heart failure based simply on the
existing information," the editorialists state.
Heart Failure, Heartburn Study
The researchers who conducted the study include Jiyoong Kim, MD, of the
National Cardiovascular Center in Suita, Japan.
Kim's team studied 50 people -- 32 men and 18 women -- with congestive heart
failure and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
The patients were 65 years old, on average. The researchers randomly split
them into two groups.
One group took a generic form of Pepcid for 24 weeks. For comparison, the
others took teprenone, a different type of heartburn drug used in Japan.
Patients were free to keep taking their usual doses of other drugs.
During the study, heart failure symptoms eased somewhat in patients taking
Pepcid. It also showed improved markers of heart failure progression. Teprenone
didn't appear to affect heart failure for better or worse, the researchers
Patients taking Pepcid were also less likely to be hospitalized for
worsening heart failure during the study.
More Work Needed
Kim's team isn't advising anyone to start taking Pepcid for heart failure.
But the findings deserve further study, the researchers note.
Editorialists Gary Francis, MD, FACC, and W. H. Wilson Tang, MD, FACC,
agree. They are cardiologists at The Cleveland Clinic.
"Clearly, this interesting concept is very early in its development, and
additional data regarding its efficacy and safety are required," write
Francis and Tang.
"However, we need some new and imaginative thinking in this arena, and
perhaps this article will serve to provide that," the editorialists