Novartis’ New Drug for Heart Comes with a Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Published Date : Feb 10, 2015

A drug by Novartis LCZ696, developed for heart failure is all set to gain its FDA approval by the end of this year. Though researchers predict this drug to be a soaring hit, the speculations that it could be a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease hang heavy in the air. This controversy might just be the new obstacle in the way of that approval.

Meanwhile, an article in a leading cardiology journal states the intricacies of this growing concern with regards to the drug. While the authors concur on the fact that the drug could lead to Alzheimer’s disease, they do not believe that it will ruin the chances of this drug to hit the market. However, they do emphasize that the consequence of the drug will have to be monitored carefully.

Milton Packer, main investigator of PARADIGM-HF, the trial for the drug in question offers a persuasive argument defending that LCZ696 and asserting that Alzheimer’s disease won’t be the Achilles’ heel for LCZ696.

A paper published in European Heart Journal by French researchers talk about the impact of sacubitril, an important ingredient in LCZ696. The other important ingredient in the drug is neprilysin. However, the researchers argue that sacubitril acts as an inhibitor to the neprilysin. The paper further focuses on the contradictory actions of neprilysin. 

Neprilysin benefits the cardiovascular its inhibition in the heart causes improved levels of vasodilators and neuropeptides bring down rates of hypertension and heart failure. On the other hand, neprilysin shows as a key cause of lowering beta amyloid plaque in the brain which is the mainly seen signal for Alzheimer’s disease. While the French authors have concerns about LCZ696 accelerating the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, they also contest whether the drug can seep through blood brain barrier for the dreaded effect.