Heart Failure :: Cardiovascular protective benefits of carvedilol in heart failure patients

Patients with heart failure who received the heart medication carvedilol suffered fewer heart attacks and strokes and were less likely to die of these and other vascular events than patients prescribed another beta blocker, metoprolol tartrate, according to a retrospective analysis of COMET (the Carvedilol or Metoprolol European Trial) published in the March 6th issue of The Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Study investigators looked at whether the effects on vascular events contributed to the beneficial effect of carvedilol in the COMET trial, the longest and largest mortality trial comparing beta-blockers in heart failure patients.

Among its key findings, the analysis documented that carvedilol reduced the risk of heart attacks, unstable angina, or stroke by 19% (p = 0.017). During the study, 106 of the 160 patients on metoprolol tartrate who had a nonfatal heart attack or stroke later died, while 61 of 124 patients on carvedilol who had a nonfatal heart attack or stroke later died.

COMET was a double-blind, randomized parallel group study designed to compare the effects of carvedilol with those of metoprolol tartrate on the risk of death and hospitalizations in patients with congestive heart failure. The study included more than 3,000 patients with heart failure primarily due to ischemic or dilated cardiomyopathy. Study participants were followed for an average of 58 months. According to COMET investigators, the study results suggested that the use of carvedilol in patients with heart failure extended median survival by 1.4 years.

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