Increased demand for cardiovascular drugs to exacerbate the disruption caused by COVID-19

As COVID-19 spreads through the global population, the rate of hospital admissions increases daily and threatens to overwhelm health systems. Certain patient populations have been deemed high risk, including those with pre-existing cardiovascular (CV) issues, but cardiac injury is also being increasingly seen in those with no history of CV problems. The use of CV drug therapies is, therefore, expected to increase to relieve the symptoms of COVID’s cardiac effects, but whether this new need is long-term or disease-limiting remains to be seen.

Heather Farrell, Health Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “As more research emerges showing those without pre-existing CV disease are still susceptible to cardiac injury, there is further insight into the viral mechanism. Furthermore, those who have never needed drug therapy for cardiac issues will now put an increased demand on certain drugs, and this must be factored into hospital budgets and healthcare strategies.”

There has also been confusion over the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) 2 receptor antagonists in those with coronavirus due to the potential role of ACE in the infection process. However, many health organizations such as the WHO have refuted these claims and have advised clinicians to use such drugs as normal.

Farrell continues: “GlobalData believes that it is highly unlikely that this publicized link between coronavirus infection and ACE receptors will impact the use or patient share of the drug. The drugs are commonly used in diabetes and CVD and are a longstanding standard of care in heart failure, a condition that seems to be exacerbated by COVID-19.”

Many management strategies of cardiovascular-related admissions have been reassessed and revamped to cope with the influx and risk of COVID-19 patients. Many procedural norms such as myocardial infarction admissions have been updated to account for the fact that these patients are now assumed to be COVID-19 positive until proven otherwise. The role of the virus on the cardiovascular system, however, is still not fully understood, highlighting the importance of clinical trials and research.

Farrell adds: “Many drug candidates are being trialed to treat coronavirus, but as with all drugs, there may be certain contraindicated populations. This may cause issues as more is understood about the full body effects of COVID-19. Chloroquine, a potential drug of promise in coronavirus, can cause cardiac abnormalities and adverse effects on myocardium, so whether it will be suitable in cardiac COVID patients is still to be determined. If found to be unsuitable, the demand for CV drugs will continue to rise as the only treatment option will be to relieve cardiac symptoms.”

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