FDA Warns of Heart Risks from Stress-Test Drugs

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a new warning about chemical agents used for cardiac stress tests that look for signs of heart disease.

Wednesday the FDA warned that heart attacks may be triggered by two specific injectable drugs, Lexiscan and Adenoscan, which are both manufactured by Astellas Pharma US.  The side effect is rare, but serious.

Blood flow to the heart muscle at rest and also during stress is measured by a cardiac nuclear stress test.  It’s usually recreated through having patients exercise while hooked up to electrodes connected to an electrocardiogram (EKG).

According to the Mayo Clinic, those who can’t exercise adequately for the test to work are given an injectable drug that increases blood flow to the heart muscle to stimulate exercise.  Lexiscan and Adeonscan are two such drugs that are given in those instances and why the FDA has issued the warning.

“Lexiscan and Adenoscan cause blood to flow preferentially to the healthier, unblocked or unobstructed arteries, which can reduce blood flow in the obstructed artery,” the FDA said in the its safety announcement. “In some cases, this reduced blood flow can lead to a heart attack, which can be fatal.’

Doctors should avoid using them in patients with signs or symptoms of unstable angina or heart problems because they might be at risk for a serious reaction.

“We recommend that health care professionals and their patients discuss any questions or concerns,” the FDA noted in the its safety announcement.

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