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Depression pill 'could help heart condition': research

By John von Radowitz

Heart failure can effectively be reversed by a commonly-prescribed antidepressant, scientists have claimed.

The discovery, made in mice, has excited researchers who believe it could pave the way to revolutionary new treatments.

A side effect of a drug, paroxetine, is thought to be responsible for its ability to overcome symptoms of heart failure, which occurs when the organ is too weak to pump enough blood around the body.

US lead researcher Dr Walter Koch, from Temple University Health System in Philadelphia, said: "This may open the way for a new class of therapies for a disease for which we lack effective interventions."

Paroxetine, used to treat depression, anxiety disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), was found to inhibit an enzyme that plays a crucial role in heart failure.

Dr Koch cautioned there could be no guarantee the effects in mice would also be seen in humans, but suggested physicians could consider prescribing paroxetine to heart failure patients who also suffered from depression.

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