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ASTRA TO MARKET NEW HEART DRUG

 ASTRA TO MARKET NEW HEART DRUG
 WESTBOROUGH, Mass., Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Astra Pharmaceutical


Products announced today that Toprol XL(TM) brand of metoprolol succinate, the nation's first once-a-day dosage form of metoprolol, is available for prescription in the treatment of hypertension and angina.
 One of the world's most widely prescribed beta blockers, metoprolol was developed by AB Astra, Sdertlje, Sweden. Approximately six million patients worldwide are treated with metoprolol each year. The agent has been available in the United States since 1978.
 Toprol XL, the first new product of Astra's Rx Division, combines the advantages of once-daily dosing with demonstrated beta blockade throughout the entire 24-hour dosing interval.
 "The advantage of once-daily dosing is obvious for chronic conditions like hypertension and angina where maintaining patient compliance is a true clinical challenge," said Michael J. Fox, M.D., senior vice president of Astra Pharmaceutical Products. "The new formulation's extended release provides relatively stable levels of beta blockade during a 24-hour period."
 Studies have shown that Toprol XL provides therapeutic beta1-blockade for the full 24-hour dosing interval while minimally blocking beta2-receptors. At higher plasma concentrations, beta2-receptor blockade is commonly associated with the undesirable side effects of beta blocking medicines.
 "Controlling side effects is a vital factor in the treatment of any chronic condition," Fox said. "This is especially true for patients being treated for high blood pressure, an asymptomatic condition, but it is also a problem for angina pectoris patients."
 High blood pressure is the most common cardiovascular condition in the United States, affecting some 58 million Americans. It afflicts people of all ages and races. The condition is detected through regular blood pressure monitoring. If left untreated, hypertension can lead to atherosclerosis and other forms of heart disease.
 Unlike high blood pressure, angina symptoms are usually quite apparent. The condition is characterized by sharp chest pains that occur when the heart muscle does not receive enough oxygen from the blood. Angina pains can mimic other conditions, including heartburn or a heart attack. Another type of angina is known as silent ischemia in which oxygen deprivation occurs without chest pain. This condition can only be detected by a physician.
 Toprol XL reduces the work of the heart, closing the gap between the heart muscle's need for oxygen and the amount it is actually receiving through blood vessels narrowed by atherosclerosis. Angina patients may also take nitroglycerin or other nitrate medicines for their condition.
 Astra researchers developed a delivery system for Toprol XL, in which hundreds of tiny microcapsules containing metoprolol succinate are compressed into a tablet form. The microcapsules are individually coated with a special polymer substance. When the tablet disintegrates in the stomach, each microcapsule acts as an independent source of metoprolol. This is responsible for Toprol XL's unique blood profile.
 The delivery system makes Toprol XL less sensitive to the effects of food than immediate release metoprolol tablets, allowing patients to take Toprol XL without regard to food or meals.
 Toprol XL is available in dosage strengths of 50, 100 and 200 milligrams in bottles of 100. It is distributed by Astra Pharmaceutical Products of Westborough, Mass., the U.S. affiliate of AB Astra, Sdertlje, Sweden.
 Toprol XL is the second new Astra drug to be brought to the U.S. market in recent months. Foscavir(R) (foscarnet sodium) was cleared for marketing as a treatment for CMV retinitis in AIDS patients in September 1991. Familiar Astra products worldwide include Xylocaine(R) (lidocaine), Losec(R) (omeprazole) and Pulmicort(R) (budesonide).
 -0- 1/13/92
 /CONTACT: Stefan Solvell of Astra Pharmaceutical Products, 508-366-1100; Andrea Rothschild of Hill and Knowlton, 212-697-5600, for Astra Pharmaceutical Products; or Ken Rabin, Ph.D., 202-944-5135/ CO: Astra Pharmaceutical Products ST: Massachusetts IN: MTC SU: PDT FC -- NY081 -- 9252 01/13/92 17:02 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 13, 1992
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