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Jun 11, 2014

Relief for Diabetic Patients with Chest Pain

Drug used to treat chest pain improves quality of life for diabetic patients with chronic angina.

A common drug, ranolazine (Ranexa), helps treat chest pain and improves quality of life for diabetic patients, according to a research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Using data from the TERISA trial (Type 2 Diabetes Evaluation of Ranolazine in Subjects with Chronic Stable Angina), researchers looked at the effect of ranolazine on quality of life for patients with diabetes. Ranolazine was first approved by the FDA in 2006 for the treatment of chronic chest pain called angina, which is usually a symptom of coronary heart disease.

Published in 2013, initial results of the TERISA trial showed that the drug was both safe and effective for patients with diabetes. However, researchers wondered how the drug impacted quality of life, since chronic chest pain can take a toll on the overall health and satisfaction of patients.

After analyzing results of questionnaires, researchers found that ranolazine significantly reduced chest pain, especially among those with more severe angina. The drug also improved treatment satisfaction and the overall health and functioning of patients. A total of 917 patients participated in the trial, all of which had type 2 diabetes and chronic chest pain.

Although assessing quality of life wasn’t the primary purpose of the TERISA trial, findings are promising for diabetic patients. Diabetes greatly increases risk for heart disease and many patients with diabetes develop angina. Chronic chest pain can negatively impact quality of life over time and minimizing symptoms is an important goal for treatment. Authors encourage further research on the subject, especially in a larger and more diverse population.

Questions for You to Consider

  • What is angina?
  • Angina is chest pain brought on by a lack of oxygen supply to the heart. Angina can be recurring (chronic or stable angina) or can occur suddenly (unstable angina). It’s important to seek medical attention immediately if you experience unexplained chest pain, as it could be a sign of a heart attack.
  • What increases risk for angina?
  • A number of factors can increase risk for chest pain, called angina, including tobacco use, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight/obesity, stress and a lack of exercise. Age and family history also can increase risk for developing angina.

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