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Teresa S Barclay, Joanne J Kim, and Audrey J Lee

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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate nesiritide for the treatment of acute decompensated heart failure (HF) with respect to its pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, clinical efficacy, adverse effect profile, and outcomes.

DATA SOURCE: Primary and review articles were identified by MEDLINE search (1966–March 2001). Data from the PRECEDENT trial and additional dosing/administration and safety information were obtained from Scios, Inc.

STUDY SELECTION: All of the articles identified from the data sources were evaluated and all information deemed relevant was included in this review.

DATA SYNTHESIS: Research into the cardiac natriuretic peptides has revealed that brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) is elevated in patients with HF and may counterregulate the pathophysiologic mechanisms involved in progression of the disease. Nesiritide (Natrecor), recombinant human BNP, is the first natriuretic peptide to be approved by the FDA for treatment of acute decompensated HF. Nesiritide is a potent venous and arterial vasodilator that reduces pulmonary capillary wedge pressure and systemic vascular resistance in a dose-dependent manner with minimal effect on heart rate. It improves signs and symptoms of HF; however, its effect on patient outcomes is unclear because of limited data. The most commonly reported adverse effects in clinical trials were dose-related hypotension and nausea.

CONCLUSIONS: Nesiritide is an intravenous arterial and venous vasodilator that may be particularly useful in patients who may not tolerate the arrhythmogenic effects of dobutamine and milrinone or who cannot tolerate nitroglycerin and nitroprusside. Further well-designed comparative studies are needed to define nesiritide's place in management of acute decompensated HF.

J Pharm Technol 2002;18:295-304.

ACPE Universal Program Number: 407-000-02-056-H01

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