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Gout drug good for heart

8th June 2010

Scientists from Dundee University have said that a drug treatment used to treat gout could also be given to patients suffering from the pain of heart disease.

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The drug Allopurinol is cheaper than some other drugs used to treat angina and is thought to be effective because it reduces the amount of energy required by the heart.

Angina is an extremely painful symptom of heart disease which is suffered by about 2 million people in the UK.

It causes intense chest pain and happens when the heart muscle does not get enough blood and oxygen. One in three patients with chronic angina have an attack once weekly.

The study, which was published in The Lancet, looked at 65 patients with angina. The patients who were given Allopurinol were able to walk for 25% as long without pain compared to patients given a placebo.

Professor Allan Struthers and his team told The Lancet: "On the basis of our results, Allopurinol is a useful anti-ischaemic treatment option in patients with angina that has the advantage of being inexpensive, well tolerated and safe in the long term."

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said the research showed promise.

"Allopurinol has been used to treat gout for decades, so we know it's safe and it's relatively cheap. There are several effective medicines out there for controlling angina, but it's helpful for doctors to have another option to turn to for patients who don't respond well to existing drugs," he said.

 

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