Coronary artery disease (also known as arteriosclerosis) is a condition that causes your blood vessels to thicken and grow stiff. In fact, heart disease contributes to a third of American deaths each year. Often, arteriosclerosis is used interchangeably with “atherosclerosis,” which indicates cholesterol build-up (or plaque) in vessels that can restrict blood flow.
Arteriosclerosis specifically affects your arteries — veins that carry oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body. Healthy arteries are flexible and elastic, allowing oxygen-rich blood to flow freely through your internal organs and tissues. But arteriosclerosis typically indicates fatty deposit build-up — or that your artery wall muscles thickened due to chronically elevated blood pressure.
It’s important to know that atherosclerosis is a specific type of arteriosclerosis, or coronary artery disease. It specifically refers to the fats, cholesterol, and other substances that cause plaque to form on your artery walls. If that plaque build-up bursts, it can then trigger a blood clot, stroke, or even a heart attack. And while some plaque naturally develops as we age, the more dangerous effects are somewhat preventable. Unfortunately, certain drugs can also trigger coronary artery disease, including the popular leukemia drug, Tasigna (generic name: nilotinib).
How Tasigna May Cause Arteriosclerosis (Coronary Artery Disease)
Mild atherosclerosis is one arteriosclerosis sub-type that develops gradually, and almost always without any symptoms. You won’t know until an artery becomes so narrow or clogged that it cannot supply blood to organs and tissue. Most arteriosclerosis risk factors are completely preventable, once you know what leads most people to develop it. Known coronary artery disease triggers include:
- Cigarette smoking
- High cholesterol
- Sedentary lifestyle/low physical activity levels
- High blood pressure
- Low fruit and vegetable consumption
For the most part, lifestyle affects whether or not you’re at risk for arteriosclerosis. But certain prescription medications — including Philadelphia-positive chronic myeloid leukemia (Ph+ CML) drug Tasigna — can also trigger it. Thousands of patients take Tasigna without realizing they’re putting their health at risk. Next, we’ll examine two recent studies that show how Tasigna can lead to heart damage and other vascular-related side effects.
Studies Link Tasigna to Arteriosclerosis, Other Heart Issues
The 2015 study discusses how Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors, or TKIs (the drug class Tasigna belongs to) can cause “cardiovascular toxicities.” Researchers found that 10% of patients given two 300mg Tasigna pills daily experienced cardiovascular events. After starting Tasigna, patients reported issues like ischemic heart disease, ischemic cerebrovascular disease, and 6% developed peripheral artery disease (PAD). Researchers then surmised that “nilotinib-associated toxicity occurs in all arterial beds.” They recommend that patients taking Tasigna also see a cardiologist.
The 2013 analysis involved two different studies that observed cardiovascular effects among Tasigna patients. Even after Tasigna for just a short time, the report categorized the drug’s effects on patients’ hearts as “detrimental.” Journal Leukemia reported that 33% of Tasigna patients experienced peripheral artery occlusive disease, myocardial infarction, spinal infarction or subdural hematoma. That 2013 report concluded by encouraging doctors to give patients full disclosure about potential heart disease risks when prescribing Tasigna. This includes the accelerated risk of developing drug-induced atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which also includes arteriosclerosis (coronary artery disease).
What Tasigna Patients With Arteriosclerosis Can Do
If you or a loved one developed heart disease while taking Tasigna, you may qualify for a cash settlement. Tasigna’s manufacturer, Novartis, downplayed any possible cardiovascular risks in the drug’s warning label, marketing materials and packaging. As a result, affected patients are now filing failure to warn claims to get the justice and compensation they deserve.
To see instantly whether you may qualify for compensation, fill out your free Tasigna claim review form now. Be sure to include a phone number where we can reach you to discuss compensation options. Once you’ve submitted your information, an experienced lawyer will arrange a consultation to help you get compensated for your injuries.
Mandy Voisin is a freelance writer, blogger, and author of Girls of the Ocean and Star of Deliverance. As an accomplished content marketing consultant, mom of four and doctor's wife, Mandy has written hundreds of articles about dangerous drugs and medical devices, medical issues that impact disabled Americans, veterans' healthcare and workers' compensation issues since 2016.