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Risk of Heart Attack and Death with Cardiac Nuclear Stress Test Drugs


The FDA warned health care professionals of the rare but serious risk of heart attack and death with use of the cardiac nuclear stress test drug agents Lexiscan (regadenoson) and Adenoscan (adenosine). The FDA approved changes to the drug labels to reflect these serious events and updated their recommendations for use of these agents. Health care professionals should avoid using these drugs in patients with signs or symptoms of unstable angina or cardiovascular instability, as these patients may be at greater risk for serious cardiovascular adverse reactions.

 

Lexiscan and Adenoscan are FDA approved for use during cardiac nuclear stress tests in patients who cannot exercise adequately. Lexiscan and Adenoscan help identify coronary artery disease. They do this by dilating the arteries of the heart and increasing blood flow to help identify blocks or obstructions in the heart’s arteries. Lexiscan and Adenoscan cause blood to flow preferentially to the healthier, unblocked or unobstructed arteries, which can reduce blood flow in the obstructed artery. In some cases, this reduced blood flow can lead to a heart attack, which can be fatal.

 

The Warnings & Precautions section of the Lexiscan and Adenoscan labels previously contained information about the possible risk of heart attack and death with use of these drugs. However, recent reports of serious adverse events in the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) database and the medical literature prompted the FDA to approve changes to the drug labels to include updated recommendations for use. Some events occurred in patients with signs or symptoms of acute myocardial ischemia, such as unstable angina or cardiovascular instability. Cardiac resuscitation equipment and trained staff should be available before administering Lexiscan or Adenoscan. At this time, data limitations prevent researchers from determining if there is a difference in risk of heart attack or death between Lexiscan and Adenoscan.

 

See the FDA Safety Announcement

 

See also Medical Law Perspectives, November 2013 Report: Diagnosis and Treatment of Heart Attacks: Liability Issues

 

See also Medical Law Perspectives, May 2013 Report: Drugs, Dosage, and Damage: Physician Liability for Prescribing or Administering Medication

 

 

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