Stress test agents pose cardiac risk

FDA Warns of Cardiac Risk With Stress Test Agents
FDA Warns of Cardiac Risk With Stress Test Agents

HealthDay News -- The FDA is warning healthcare providers about a rare, but serious, risk for heart attack and death with use of two cardiac nuclear stress test agents -- regadenoson (Lexiscan) and adenosine (Adenoscan).

"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," the agency wrote in a press release.

Regadenoson and adenosine are used in cardiac stress tests for patients who cannot exercise adequately to help identify coronary artery disease (CAD) by dilating heart arteries and increasing blood flow. The risk stems from reduced blood flow to obstructed areas, which may result in potentially fatal myocardial infarction.

The FDA has approved drug label changes for the two drugs to highlight these risks and update recommendations for their use. At this time, it is not clear if there is any difference in risk between regadenoson and adenosine.

Healthcare providers should "screen all nuclear stress test candidates for their suitability to receive regadenoson and adenosine," the FDA said.

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