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Pimobendan can prolong lives of dogs with heart failure up to nine months, study says


Ingelheim/Germany, 11 January 2007 - Dogs suffering from heart failure can gain an extra nine months of life over conventional treatments by using pimobendan, a study published in the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association (JAAHA) says.

Overall, one in ten (10%) dogs will be diagnosed with various forms of heart disease during their lifetime. The most common of these is caused by degeneration of the heart valves, causing them to become leaky. This condition is known as ‘atrioventricular valvular disease’.

The study found that dogs with congestive heart failure due to atrioventricular valvular disease treated with conventional therapy including an ACE inhibitor lived on average for 128 days – approximately four months. However, the dogs which received pimobendan (Vetmedin®, Boehringer Ingelheim), lived on average 415 days – around 9 months longer compared to those who did not receive pimobendan.

Aside from a prolonged lifetime, the study found a rapid response to pimobendan. Within seven days over 50% of dogs were symptom free. “Based on these results, pimobendan should be considered as a primary treatment when atrioventricular valvular disease progresses to clinical heart failure” concluded the lead investigator and author of the study Christophe Lombard, veterinary cardiologist from the University of Bern, Switzerland.

Study design and findings
The study was conducted in 76 dogs with heart failure caused by atrioventricular valvular disease covering 31 breeds from five European countries - Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.

Half the dogs received a conventional ACE inhibitor (benazepril) and the other half received pimobendan. The majority also received a standard diuretic for heart failure, furosemide. The study ran initially for 56 days and then was extended into a long-term multi-year trial to assess survival benefits.

The study concluded that “dogs suffering from overt, clinical heart failure from atrioventricular valvular disease had improved quality of life and survival times when treated with pimobendan with or without furosemide, compared to those given benazepril hydrochloride with or without furosemide.”

At the end of 56 days, efficacy was rated as very good or good in 86% of dogs on pimobendan /furosemide versus 25% of dogs treated with benazepril /furosemide.

The study also showed that pimobendan produced a reduction in the non- physiological heart size which was caused by the disease.

Mode of action
As the first of a new class of heart treatments termed Inodilators, Vetmedin has a dual mode of action, acting directly on the heart as a calcium sensitiser to increase myocardial contractility and on the peripheral circulation through selective phosphodiesterase III inhibition to produce both peripheral and coronary vasodilation. As a consequence, Vetmedin increases cardiac output and reduces both the preload and afterload. Furthermore, Vetmedin improves cardiac output by increasing the efficiency within the myofilaments, with no increase in myocardial energy requirement.

Boehringer Ingelheim
The Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies, headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, is one of the 20 leading pharmaceutical corporations in the world. Its core businesses are human pharmaceuticals and animal health. The animal health business is conducted in 20 countries including USA, Canada, Germany, UK, Italy, Spain, Mexico, the Nordic countries and Japan. Since 1954, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health is contributing to an adequate supply of safe, nutritious food and is promoting the emotional and physical benefits arising from the human-animal bond.

In 2005, Boehringer Ingelheim’s overall research and development spending was more than 1.3 billion euro which is about a fifth of net sales in Prescription Medicines.


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