Patients taking losmapimod, an anti-inflammatory drug currently being developed, for 12 weeks following a heart attack did not show improvements in the trial's primary endpoint, the rate of cardiovascular death, subsequent heart attack or urgent coronary revascularization, which includes placement of a stent or coronary artery bypass surgery, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology's 65th Annual Scientific Session.
The findings are from the initial phase of a losmapimod trial involving 3,500 patients. Because the trial failed to meet its primary endpoint, study authors said the second phase trial involving 22,000 patients will not go forward. However, in a finding that could warrant further study, the trial offers some evidence that the drug may benefit a subset of patients experiencing the most severe form of heart attack, ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, or STEMI.
"Overall the results were neutral, showing no evidence of efficacy in our primary analysis," said Michelle O'Donoghue, M.D., a cardiologist and investigator in the TIMI Study Group at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the study's lead author. "We did, however, see intriguing signals toward there potentially being some efficacy in ST-elevation myocardial infarction patients. But because that signal was only within a smaller subgroup, we would need to validate those findings in a new study in order to confirm such an effect."
Although inflammation is a natural part of the body's response to injury, in some cases it can cause more harm than good. Inflammation is thought to increase cardiovascular risk after a heart attack by affecting the healing of heart muscle tissue, increasing the formation of plaque in the arteries and raising the likelihood that plaque will dislodge and cause another heart attack.