Life-saving new drug offers hope to 7,000 Britons a year suffering from a dangerous form of heart disease
Thousands of people with a potentially deadly heart condition will benefit after NHS bosses approve the use of a groundbreaking new drug.
Mavacamten – also known as Camzyos – is the first medicine specifically developed to treat obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a serious condition affecting around 7,000 people in the UK.
It causes the heart muscle to thicken and stiffen, making it more difficult to pump oxygenated blood around the body. Symptoms include severe fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, and palpitations.
About 50 percent of cases are hereditary, and there is a high risk of heart failure, stroke, and even sudden death from the heart stopping completely.
Doctors mainly treat it with drugs that control blood pressure and relieve pressure on the heart, but many still get little relief.
Mavacamten ? also known as Camzyos ? is the first medicine specifically developed to treat obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a serious condition affecting around 7,000 people in the UK
About 50 percent of cases are hereditary and there is a high risk of heart failure, stroke and even sudden death from the heart stopping completely
Trials of Mavacamten showed that when given in addition to existing medications, it relieved tiredness, palpitations and shortness of breath. Some patients improved so much that they were able to avoid open-heart surgery, which would cut away excess heart muscle and improve heart function.
Now the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the NHS drug spending watchdog, has issued guidelines calling on doctors to prescribe it when patients are still feeling bad despite existing drugs.
Helen Knight, director of drug evaluation at NICE, said: ‘This condition can occur at any age, even in younger people with very active lifestyles. And until now, there has been no specific treatment that targets the underlying cause. This drug has the potential to change the course of the disease and offers more hope to those suffering from it.’
Joel Rose, CEO of heart muscle organization Cardiomyopathy UK, welcomed the move. “This is an important step forward for people with cardiomyopathy,” he said.
“We hope this is the first of many new and effective treatments.”