Patients with access to medication that is essential for treating serious life-threatening infection or pneumonia can lower their risk of death by 322 percent over similar patients without access to medications.

Although the findings are small the findings suggest that medications should be available readily accessible to patients at even low doses said Laurie Cornish editor-in-chief of The Lancet medical sciences journal.

This small study which examined whether being assigned to one to two daily doses was associated with a lower risk of death regional heart failure cardiovascular disease stroke and atrial fibrillation Cornish said by email.

The findings need to be further examined and confirmed in larger well-designed trials Cornish added.

Dosing of medications for heart failure and type 2 diabetes can vary based on patient needs and health care settings. Some patients are assigned to two or three daily doses while others receive a placebo or 0. 25 milligrams or milligrams per kilogram (mgkg) of body weight.

JAMA Cardiology studies showed that patients with higher drug doses had a higher chance of dying or needing a heart transplant.

Because of this researchers focused on these patients who had the most comparable type of medications: heart failure patients who had cellphone-based monitoring and electronic diaries; and those receiving home blood pressure monitoring in the form of a portable device.

Mortality risk was similar among patients who received pills versus those assigned to other treatments researchers said.

Among the 257 heart failure patients enrolled in the study those assigned to four to six daily pills had a 30-percent lower risk of dying or needing a heart transplant than people who got home blood pressure monitoring. No differences in death rates were seen between groups in any absolute measure.

There wasnt a significant difference in death risk seen between the two groups for stroke or atrial fibrillation.

One limitation of the study is that researchers only studied heart failure patients who had free access to heart surgery through a cardiologist. Its possible that other patients with cardiovascular conditions didnt have access to hospital cardiac surgery or didnt receive it the study authors said.

More research is needed to confirm the benefit of medicine-assisted therapy in heart failure patients said Dr. Steve Levitsky a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh and Harvard Medical School in Boston who wasnt involved in the study.

I think the next step is to see if the benefit of all medication doses is clinically meaningful Levitsky said by email. Thats the ultimate goal in this very large study: to evaluate the benefit of medication-assisted therapy for those patients who have heart failure regardless of having or not having a heart transplant.