Natrecor is a drug administered intravenously to about 10% of
persons hospitalized for heart failure. The drug dilates blood vessels
thereby reducing stresses on the heart and relieving symptoms such as
shortness of breath. Natrecor is manufactured by Johnson & Johnson
and is estimated to account for $400 million in sales per year.
A study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found
that Natrecor raised the risk of death within the first month of
treatment by 80%, as compared with other similar medications. The study
is based upon a review of three studies of Natrecor involving 485
patients. Recently the same researchers found a 40-50% increase in
kidney problems for patients using Natrecor.
When the Food and Drug Administration reviewed Natrecor in 2001 it
stated that it could not rule out a 50% increased risk of death for
patients using Natrecor. Most experts opine that only a study
specifically designed to judge the drug’s risks can resolve the safety