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Today GE Healthcare and Rapidscan Pharma Solutions EU Ltd report the launch of Rapiscan® (regadenoson) in the United Kingdom, the first country in Europe to have access.
Rapiscan is a new generation pharmacological stress agent for myocardial perfusion scintigraphy (MPS) in adult patients unable to undergo adequate exercise stress in the diagnosis of coronary artery disease (CAD) – the single most common cause of death and disability in Europe. MPS is a non-invasive scan of blood flow to the heart muscle. It has been appraised by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and is found to be effective and cost-effective for the diagnosis and management of CAD.
Richard Underwood, Professor of Cardiac Imaging at Imperial College London and the Royal Brompton Hospital, said: “We are happy that Rapiscan is now being made available in the UK and that we shall be the first in Europe to use it clinically. It provides a new option for patients who need MPS either to diagnose CAD or to assess its severity and to decide upon the best treatment. It is easier to use, appears to be better tolerated, and can be used in some patients with lung problems that may complicate the use of the older agents.”
MPS provides images of blood flow to the heart muscle at rest and during exercise. Patients are commonly asked to exercise on a treadmill or bicycle and the images are created after injection of a small amount of a radioactive substance, called a radiopharmaceutical, during the exercise. Unfortunately, many MPS patients are unable to exercise adequately. For these, a pharmacological stress agent, such as Rapiscan, can be used to simulate the effects of exercise by increasing coronary blood flow.
Rapiscan is the first and only non-weight based, infusion pump-free pharmacological stress agent available in the UK.
Unlike older agents, Rapiscan requires no dose adjustment for varying body weight and is administered as a 10 second injection, which cuts the need for an infusion pump, extension line and infusion line set-up. Beyond the practical benefits, Rapiscan selectively stimulates the A2A adenosine receptors responsible for the increase in blood flow, but not other adenosine receptors believed to cause undesirable effects, such as difficulty in breathing or missing heart beats, that have been associated with the existing pharmacological stress agents.
Steve Tomkins, the UK and Ireland Commercial Director for GE Healthcare’s Medical Diagnostics division, said: “This is a great opportunity for us to bring an important development to the nuclear medicine community, using our leadership in the field of nuclear cardiology and molecular imaging to support our customers in adopting this exciting product.”