Doctors in the UK and Australia have been prescribing the drug, called clonidine, for nearly a decade, but they’ve only been available to those who had underlying cardiac or pulmonary conditions.
Now, the UK is introducing a prescription for the drug to all patients, with patients to receive a minimum of 12 doses.
The drug, which has been approved in the US for treating congestive heart failure and angina, is a newer version of a drug developed in the early 1990s that works by targeting a protein in the blood that can trigger a protein called troponin.
It’s a treatment that has been used for more than 50 years, but its effectiveness has been questioned because it has a higher risk of side effects.
“The drug was not well tested in clinical trials in the United Kingdom, and has been only recently approved in Australia, where it has been shown to be effective,” said Dr Andrew Jenson, the chief medical officer at the University of New South Wales.
Dr Jenson said he expected patients in the country to start receiving clonidig, which costs around $70 a pill, by mid-January.
But it’s not yet clear how many people will start receiving the drug.
He said the drugs are currently only available to patients who have a history of heart failure.
It could be years before the drug is widely available to the general public.