Amgen Inc.'s anemia drug Aranesp didn't help or hurt the heart health of patients with chronic kidney disease, a company-sponsored trial found.

A study dubbed TREAT -- Trial to Reduce Cardiovascular Events with Aranesp Therapy -- found the drug had little effect on the heart health of patients with chronic kidney disease compared with patients who got placebos, Thousand Oaks-based Amgen said in a statement. The results showed more Aranesp users suffered strokes than did patients taking placebos.

Aranesp, once Amgen's top-selling product, and Johnson & Johnson's similar treatment, Procrit, have lost sales since 2006 when a study linked high doses of Procrit to higher rates of heart attacks and death in kidney patients. The new results found that people who took Aranesp didn't die sooner from heart disease than those who were given placebos, according to the company statement.

"It's good news because it doesn't lead to further reduction in Aranesp sales estimates," said Ian Somaiya, an analyst at Thomas Weisel Partners LLC in New York.

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