First-of-a-kind Novartis heart failure drug saves lives, cuts hospitalizations in big study

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A new study reports one of the biggest potential advances against heart failure in more than a decade. Doctors say that a first-of-a-kind, experimental drug cut the chances of death or hospitalization by about 20 percent.

The drug, made by Switzerland-based Novartis, does not have a name yet and is just called LCZ696. If it wins federal approval, doctors say it could quickly change care for more than half of the 6 million Americans and 24 million people worldwide with heart failure.

The study involved nearly 8,500 people and was stopped early once independent monitors saw the Novartis drug was better.

Results were discussed Saturday at a cardiology conference in Barcelona and published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

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