Thousands get access to 'significant' heart failure drug
A groundbreaking drug treatment for sufferers of heart failure is now available to almost tens of thousands of Irish patients.
The Entresto medication - which has been labelled the most significant cardiological breakthrough in decades - can be prescribed in Ireland from today.
It is understood that the drug - when used for those suitable - can dramatically improve quality of life.
One-in-five Irish people suffers from heart failure in their lifetime, with around 90,000 people currently living with the condition.
Neil Johnson of Croi - the heart and stroke charity - welcomed the development.
"Heart failure is devastating, not just for the person affected, but for their whole family, and the impact it has on a person's quality of life cannot be understated," he said.
"Entresto has been proven to dramatically improve that quality of life and we are so pleased that those who need this breakthrough medicine will now have access to it."
Heart failure cases in Ireland are expected to increase by more than 10,000 per year.
Consultant cardiologist at St Vincent's University Hospital Dr Patricia Campbell said that through trials she had seen first hand the significance of the breakthrough, insisting it offered hope to patients who have been waiting for it.
"The main benefits of Entresto are a reduced risk of cardiovascular death by 20pc, and reduced hospitalisations by 21pc, compared to those given the standard therapy," she said.