Heart failure and myocardial infarction result in considerable consumption of healthcare resources. Therefore, there is interest in the availability of drug therapies that can favorably modify their prognosis in the post-acute phase, reducing mortality and rehospitalization rates. Aldosterone antagonists represent a class of drugs which offer advantages in these settings, in addition to those obtained with beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers, even though attention should be drawn to their potential adverse effects. In particular, eplerenone exhibits a better safety profile than spironolactone. Since it has very little affinity for glucocorticoid, androgen and progesterone receptors, eplerenone has less antiandrogenic and progestagenic effects, resulting in a lower incidence of gynecomastia. The EPHESUS study showed that eplerenone can reduce mortality in the short and long term and the rate of new hospitalizations after a myocardial infarction complicated by heart failure. In addition, in the EMPHASIS-HF study eplerenone reduced cardiovascular mortality and hospitalizations after mild heart failure (NYHA class IIa). Despite these important results, which confirmed those obtained with spironolactone in severe heart failure in the RALES study, aldosterone antagonists are still underutilized. In particular, eplerenone is not yet available in Italy, although it is recommended by the latest European Society of Cardiology guidelines.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine