A panel of cardiologists has dealt Johnson & Johnson another setback on Natrecor, recommending that the use of the heart drug be reserved for seriously ill patients arriving at a hospital. It said the drug should not be given for outpatients and that another clinical trial was needed to clarify how safe the drug is. Dr. Eugene Braunwald of Harvard Medical School led the panel. Despite their reservations on the use of Natrecor among outpatients, the panel also recommended that a clinical trial into the efficacy of the drug among outpatients should continue.
The FDA approved Natrecor specifically for patients who arrive at the hospital so ill that they had trouble walking or breathing. But sales of the drug for outpatient use have swelled each year over the past four years.
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