Natrecor works to dilate blood vessels and is prescribed to treat breathing issues in patients suffering from congestive heart failure. This drug works by binding to certain receptors at the veins and arteries and allowing them to relax, which causes better blood flow. The FDA approved Natrecor in 2001. It is marketed by Scios Inc., a unit of Johnson & Johnson. In 2005, Natrecor sales reached $700 million, and costs $700 a session—50 times more than other treatment options.

In 2005, a study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which stated that Natrecor users suffered from a higher death rate than cardiac patients on other drugs. Another similar study was also published that found that Natrecor could increase the risk of renal failure in patients as well. Of 485 patients, 35 died after being treated by this drug (7.2 percent), while other drugs had a lower death rate (15 of 377 or four percent). In these studies, it was found that side effects usually showed themselves within 30 days of being treated by Natrecor.

Natrecor has also been prescribed for off-label uses, which have been linked to serious side effects as well.

Serious side effects may include:

  • Dizziness, chest pain, fast heart rate, or confusion shortly after you receive Natrecor
  • Feeling light-headed, fainting
  • Coughing up blood
  • Fever, pale skin, easy bruising, unusual weakness

Less serious Natrecor side effects may include:

  • Pain, itching, or swelling where the IV needle was placed
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Drowsiness
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Cough
  • Increased sweating
  • Skin Rash or itching
  • Leg Cramps
  • Blurred Vision
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