This Drug Reduces Heart Attack, But Increases Other Infections

One of the proofs that endorses this thesis is a recent discovery divulged in the congress of the European Society of Cardiology. It has been shown how an antibody to interleukin 1-beta (IL1B), canakinumab, reduced the number of cardiovascular events by 15% in those who had had a heart attack. Specifically, a dose of 150mg given every three months was associated with 3.86 deaths per 100 person and year for cardiovascular, heart attack or stroke, compared to a rate of 4.50 in patients taking placebo.

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The finding supports the theory, already disclosed, that inflammation is a very important process in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease. In this group of pathologies, the accumulation of cholesterol plaques inside the blood vessels plays a relevant role. In addition, parallel to this, said vessels become less flexible. These processes are called the technical atherosclerosis.

In these phenomena the immune cells can participate, so that when damage occurs on the surface of the vessels, they travel to the site of injury in a process involving molecules such as interleukins (and it is precisely an interleukin Which is blocked by this drug). Subsequently, these cells (white blood cells), can be loaded with cholesterol and deposited in the walls of the vessels.

Physicians who have presented findings related to the drug underscore that it helps to better understand how inflammation is linked to cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, canakinumab also increased the risk of contracting “fatal infections”, so the authors themselves argue that their routine use can not be justified. In patients who consumed the drug the rate of fatal infection or sepsis was 0.31 per 100 people per year, while in those taking placebo the figure dropped to 0.18. But the conclusions that have been reached can impel to look for drugs or habits that diminish the inflammation and very probably the incidence of infarcts.

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