stories with heart How to Teach an Old Pill New Tricks

Doxycycline is an antibiotic medication used to treat bacterial infections. However, local research has discovered that taking a doxycycline pill can actually help reduce the size of a heart attack.

Medicine is constantly changing and evolving. New technology, treatments and medicines are being developed at a rapid pace and new studies are being undertaken. But it is not always something new that can make a big impact.

That is what happened when local research discovered a new use for an old drug. Doxycycline is an antibiotic medication used to treat bacterial infections. However, local research has discovered that taking one of these pills can actually help reduce the size of a heart attack.

When a person has a heart attack, inflammatory proteins called MMPs become activated. These proteins cause additional damage to the heart often leading to a weakening of the heart and other possible complications.

That is where Doxycycline can help. This pill inhibits the MMP enzyme leading to a fuller recovery and better heart health.

Cardiologist Dr. Ben Tyrrell and his team at the CK Hui Heart Centre, funded in part by the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation, have begun a clinical study into this discovery with a program within the Vital Heart Program.

 “It’s a really interesting trial,” says Dr. Tyrrell, “Doxycycline is a really cheap antibiotic that has been around for a long time that we are using for its other effects.”

The clinical trial started on January 1, 2020, and so far has six patients enrolled.

“It’s a good start,” says Tyrrell, “We have about 500 major heart attack patients come through the Royal Alex every year and we hope to have 170 patients involved in this study by the end of the year.”