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) -- A clinical trial demonstrated that

Johnson & Johnson's

(JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson Report

Natrecor drug provided only limited relief of breathing problems in heart failure patients.

However, the study dispelled existing concerns that the drug, also known as nesiritide, increased patients' risk of kidney damage and death.

In a news release, Johnson & Johnson's Scios unit said Natrecor "demonstrated no statistically significant difference from placebo in the co-primary endpoints of dyspnea, measured at six and 24 hours, or in the composite of heart failure rehospitalizations and death during the first 30 days following treatment. Importantly, the study reinforced the safety profile of Natrecor, revealing no excess adverse effects on renal function or mortality."

The cardiologists who led the study said the drug only modestly relieved shortness of breath within 6 hours of its infusion, the

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Associated Press


The 7,141-patient study, which was sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, started in 2007 and investigated the drug's use in treating acutely decompensated heart failure, or ADHF.

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"They resolved the safety issue but in the meantime showed it was not very effective," Dr. Alfred Bove, a Temple University heart specialist and past president of the American College of Cardiology, was quoted saying by the

Associated Press


The study results were presented Sunday in Chicago at an American Heart Association conference.

Shares of Johnson & Johnson closed Friday down 25 cents at $63.67.

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.