Background: Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is an independent nosographic entity characterized by left ventricular dilatation and contractile dysfunction leading to heart failure (HF). The idiopathic form of DCM (iDCM) occurs in the absence of coronaropathy or other known causes of DCM. Despite being different from other forms of HF for demographic, clinical, and prognostic features, its current pharmacological treatment does not significantly diverge. Methods: In this study we performed a Pubmed library search for placebo-controlled clinical investigations and a post-hoc analysis recruiting iDCM from 1985 to 2016. We searched for second-line pharmacologic treatments to reconsider drugs for iDCM management and pinpoint pathological mechanisms. Results: We found 33 clinical studies recruiting a total of 3392 patients of various durations and sizes, as well as studies that tested different drug classes (statins, pentoxifylline, inotropes). A metanalysis was unfeasible, although a statistical significance for changes upon treatment for molecular results, morphofunctional parameters, and clinical endpoints was reported. Statins appeared to be beneficial in light of their pleiotropic effects; inotropes might be tolerated more for longer times in iDCM compared to ischemic patients. General anti-inflammatory therapies do not significantly improve outcomes. Metabolic and growth modulation remain appealing fields to be investigated. Conclusions: The evaluation of drug effectiveness based on direct clinical benefit is an inductive method providing evidence-based insights. This backward approach sheds light on putative and underestimated pathologic mechanisms and thus therapeutic targets for iDCM management.
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