Cardiovascular pharmacology and drug therapy is one of the most essential parts of cardiology. It is important to remember that not only cardiologists but also specialists in internal medicine, general practitioners and doctors in all kinds of different specialised hospital departments have to deal with questions of cardiovascular pharmacology and drug therapy. Principally, this is because cardiovascular diseases remain extremely prevalent throughout the world and they still belong to the most frequent causes of death, particularly in the developed countries. Therefore, questions, problems, newer developments and solutions concerning cardiovascular pharmacology and drug therapy are present in daily medical practice all over the world, which is why it one of the main field of interests and activities of the European Society of Cardiology’s (ESC) Working Group on Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Drug Therapy.
The aims of the Working Group are: to promote and organise research in the field of cardiovascular pharmacology and drug therapy; to gather and exchange information regarding research and related activities within the Working Group; to organise teaching workshops on topics related to cardiovascular pharmacology and drug therapy; to hold regular meetings of the Working Group on specific topics; to be involved in task forces of the ESC related to cardiovascular pharmacology; to contribute to the organisation and preparation of the Annual Congress of the ESC; to participate and support other scientific meetings and symposia. In addition to these aims, a further goal of the Working Group is to provide a forum of expertise and debate regarding all aspects of cardiovascular pharmacology and drug therapy, encompassing the entire spectrum from molecular pharmacology, including pharmacogenomics, to cardiovascular clinical trials. We are able to be a truly multidisciplinary task anticipated to gain significantly in importance in cardiovascular medicine.
Current areas of interest
This year the Working Group co-organised the following symposia with the World Congress of Cardiology, which also reflect the main interests of the Working Group, at this year’s ESC Annual Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Noncompliance to medication in cardiovascular patients: cause for concern? Chaired by TM Norekvaal (Norway) and E Ambrosioni (Italy), this symposium contained the following lectures: How to measure noncompliance in research and in clinical practice (L Burke, US); How to deal with non-compliance in heart failure trials (F Zannad, France); Is aspirin resistance explained by noncompliance? (E Kaluski, Israel); Consequences of nonadherence to immunosuppressive therapy in heart transplant recipients (F Dobbels, Belgium); Interventions to improve compliance to medication in cardiovascular patients (SM de Geest, Switzerland). An economic view of cardiovascular care. Chaired by L Ryden (Sweden) and SC Hammill (US), this symposium contained the following lectures: Health economics: what is important for clinicians worldwide? (B Jonsson, Sweden); Economic issues in cardiovascular prevention with drugs (DB Mark, US); Economic issues in the clinical use of electrical devices (G Boriani, Italy); Economic issues in the clinical use of percutaneous coronary interventions (KA Fox, UK). Interpretation and misinterpretation of cardiovascular trial results. Chaired by R Collins (UK), F Zannad (France), this symposium contained the following lectures: Use and misuse of composite endpoints in cardiovascular clinical trials (J Lubsen, Switzerland); Subgroup analyses that influenced drug approval and/or clinical practice (AP Maggioni, Italy); Positive control trials (ie,antihypertensive A versus antihypertensive B) and what are they for? (SE Kjeldsen, Norway); Tricks and pitfalls of reporting results of cardiovascular trials (SJ Pocock, UK). In addition to the above topics, there are ongoing discussions in other fields of cardiovascular pharmacology and drug therapy that the Working Group is currently involved with. These include:
- How to treat hyperlipidaemia: Statins and/or cholesterol absorption inhibitors, nicotinic acid/niacin, rimonabant.
- The position of thrombolysis in acute ST elevation myocardial infarction in the upcoming era of acute coronary intervention.
- Heparin, low-molecular-weight heparins, bivalirudin, fondaparinux, aspirin, clopidogrel and GP IIb IIIa inhibitors in the treatment of ST-elevation myocardial infarction, Non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction and acute coronary syndromes.
- ACE inhibitors versus angiotensin receptor blockers in the treatment of arterial hypertension and heart failure.
Working Group structure
The Working Group is directed by the chairman and the vice-chairman or past-chairman. The vice-chairman is proposed by the Nucleus and elected by the ordinary members. He/she serves for one year and then becomes chairman. The chairman serves for two years and represents the Working Group at official functions of the ESC, then he serves for one further year as a past-chairman. There is also a serving treasurer and a secretary. Nucleus meetings are performed three times a year: at every Global CVCT Forum in spring (where the Working Group is an official participant); at every ESC Congress; and at every Educational Autumn Meeting. The annual business meeting of the Working Group is held during each annual Congress of the ESC where all members are invited to attend and to participate actively in order to bring in their ideas, criticisms, and proposals. In addition, all decisions about who will be the members of the Nucleus, the next chairman and vice-chairman, the treasurer and the secretary will be made at these meetings.
People working in any field of cardiovascular pharmacology who are interested to become members of the Working Group can apply either directly or through a proposal to the chairman of the Working Group submitting a brief curriculum vitae including relevant references. The chairman presents the applications from suitable new members to the Nucleus for ratification. Unsuitable applicants (as far as formal requirements are concerned) may be rejected by a majority vote of the Nucleus. If an application is rejected by the Nucleus, there is no obligation to give reasons to the applicant. Membership shall be granted for life unless the member is expelled from his National Society belonging to the ESC, in which case his/her membership of the Working Group will automatically cease to exist. Currently no membership fee is required.