Adriamycin, a potent chemotherapy drug used to treat a variety of cancers in adults and children, works well but to save lives, with one possible side effect. It may lead to congestive heart failure later in life.
But here's the good news. A landmark study in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates this drug, Zinecard, when given a half hour before Adriamycin is significantly reducing the risk of heart damage in those patients.
"We found that all told only about 20% of all the children treated with the Adriamycin had evidence of heart muscle injury compared with 51% of the children who did not receive this at all, so it was a very large difference between the two groups," says Dr. Steven Lipshultz, study author, University of Miami.
The study also found giving patients the heart protective drug before treatment did not impact the effectiveness of the chemo.