A new, inexpensive drug may be helping patients stay alive in critical care and even help them live longer.
A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology says it’s an effective and safe way to reduce cardiac output and reduce risk of sudden cardiac death.
The study’s lead author, professor Dr. Stephen A. Johnson, MD, said it’s a new way of treating patients who have a cardiac arrest due to an abnormal heart rhythm, and that it’s not a new drug.
Dr. Johnson said the drug’s name is Endonax.
He added that while the drug has been tested in humans, it will only be available to doctors, not hospitals, to begin with.
The drug works by targeting an enzyme that helps the heart beat and help keep blood pressure down.
The enzyme, known as PKA, is important for the heart’s electrical activity, said Dr. John Bowers, MD and a cardiologist at the University of New Hampshire in Manchester, New Hampshire.
“The problem with using PKA is that there are a lot of different ways to do it.
There are drugs that have PKA inhibitors, and there are drugs with PKA antagonists,” Dr. Bowers said.
“PKA inhibitors and PKA blockers are the drugs that work best, and we know how to get the PKA from the PPI and from the pacemaker.
PKA inhibition is a good way to get that PKA to the heart.”
Dr. Jon F. Zielinski, a cardiology professor at the Cleveland Clinic and a co-author of the study, said the treatment might also help patients with severe heart failure, who might be at risk for having a sudden cardiac arrest.
Dr Zielinsky said the study was done in mice, and they tested the drug on the animals that are typically treated with PPI, and then the animals were switched to a different type of PPI.
In those animals, there was no increase in the heart rate and blood pressure.
“What’s interesting about this is that the animals did have a slight increase in their heart rate, but that was actually just because they were treated with this drug, not because of any other reason,” Dr Ziolinski said.
The PKA inhibitor, called Zyban, is not a drug like aspirin or beta blockers, but is a drug that works by blocking the enzyme that works with PKB.
“This is what they’re doing, basically,” Dr Bowers added.
“It’s a drug, and it’s also a drug for heart failure.
This drug is going to be used for a variety of things.”
The drug is being tested in the laboratory and will be available for use within six months, Dr. Ziolinsky said.
Dr Bower said the drugs could be very effective in patients with a high risk of dying from sudden cardiac failure, but not everyone who gets the drug will benefit.
“We are in the early stages of clinical trials, so we’ll see how it works for different patients,” he said.
He also said the findings will help to determine how much of the drug is actually beneficial for the patient.
“For a lot more people, it’s probably going to work, but for some people it might not work as well,” Dr Johnson said.
While the drug may help people who are already living with a cardiac failure or who have had a sudden heart attack, it also may be useful in people who have been treated with an aggressive cardiac-therapy drug, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, such the ACE inhibitors, which can lower the heart rhythm.
Dr Johnson, who has been studying PKA in mice for 20 years, said he hopes that his findings will be used in more people.
“I’m hopeful that in the future, we’ll be able to use this for things like heart failure or for patients who are at high risk for sudden cardiac-death,” Dr Brown said.
She added that if Dr Johnson can prove that the drug works in a small number of people, the drug could eventually be tested in people with a variety more common cardiac-related conditions, such those of cardiac arrest and heart failure that have been left untreated.