New Therapy UpdateIvabradine A Unique and Intriguing Medication for Treating Cardiovascular DiseaseNawarskas, James J. PharmD, BCPS*; Bowman, Brandi N. PharmD†; Anderson, Joe R. PharmD, BCPS*Author Information From the *University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy, Albuquerque, NM; and †University of New Mexico Hospital, Albuquerque, NM. Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest. Correspondence: James J. Nawarskas, PharmD, BCPS, Associate Professor of Pharmacy, University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy, MSC09 5360, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001. E-mail: JNawarskas@salud.unm.edu. Cardiology in Review: July/August 2015 - Volume 23 - Issue 4 - p 201-211 doi: 10.1097/CRD.0000000000000070 Buy Metrics Abstract There has been much research linking elevated resting heart rate to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Based on these findings, a lower resting heart rate would be of theoretical benefit in patients with cardiovascular disease. From a pathophysiologic perspective, a lower resting heart rate would be of particular benefit in patients with ischemic heart disease and/or heart failure. Although β-blockers and nondihydropyridine calcium channel blockers are effective at lowering heart rate, they have many other pharmacologic effects that may not be desirable in some patients, such as negative inotropy. Ivabradine is a drug designed to lower heart rate without any other demonstrable pharmacologic effects; in other words, a pure heart rate-lowering drug. It functions by blocking the hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide gated channels (f-channels) specific for the sinoatrial node and disrupting If ion current flow. This effectively prolongs diastolic depolarization and slows firing in the sinoatrial node, which lowers heart rate. The effects of ivabradine are most pronounced at higher heart rates (use-dependence), which is important in minimizing the development of symptomatic bradycardia. Clinical trials have demonstrated ivabradine to be an effective antianginal drug both alone and in combination with β-blocker therapy, although it has not been shown to produce a demonstrable effect on reducing major adverse cardiovascular events. In patients with heart failure, ivabradine has demonstrated many hemodynamic benefits, but its effect on clinical outcomes have been mixed and dependent on baseline heart rate, ie, the drug may be of benefit with higher baseline heart rates, but detrimental with low baseline heart rates. The adverse effects of ivabradine are not uncommon, but are rarely severe and include visual disturbances, bradycardia, and atrial fibrillation. Although ivabradine is a very interesting new agent, its variable benefits in large-scale clinical trials leave its exact place in therapy still somewhat nebulous. Unanswered questions include which patient populations would benefit most from this drug, and which concomitant medications would produce the best clinical outcomes when used with ivabradine. Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.