Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Levosimendan in patients with ischaemic heart disease

Pentti Põder

Doctoral dissertation, April 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Cardiology unit.

Levosimendan is a drug developed for the treatment of heart failure. Its mechanism of action includes calcium sensitization of contractile proteins and the opening of ATP-sensitive potassium channels. The combination of positive inotropy with possible anti-ischaemic effects via potassium channel opening may offer benefits in comparison with currently available intravenous inotropes, which are contraindicated in patients with ongoing myocardial ischaemia. The active levosimendan metabolite OR-1896 significantly prolongs the duration of the haemodynamic effects of levosimendan.

The aims of the present study were to investigate: 1) the clinical effects and safety of intravenous and oral levosimendan and 2) the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of intravenous and oral levosimendan and its metabolites in patients with ischaemic heart disease.

Levosimendan was administered intravenously or orally in four studies to 557 patients with ischaemic heart disease with or without concomitant heart failure. One study included patients with acute myocardial infarction, while the other three studies included stable ischaemic patients. Non-invasive haemodynamic measurements were used in all studies, and blood samples for pharmacokinetics were drawn in three studies. Safety was followed by ECG recordings, adverse event inquiries and laboratory assessments.

Intravenous levosimendan, administered as a 6-hour infusion did not cause clinically significant hypotension or ischaemia in comparison with placebo and reduced worsening heart failure and short- and long-term mortality. Increase in incidence of hypotension and ischaemia was seen only with the highest dose (0.4 µg/kg/min). Both intravenous and oral levosimendan possessed a moderate positive inotropic effect. Vasodilatory effect was more pronounced with intravenous levosimendan. A chronotropic effect was seen in all studies; however, it was not accompanied by any increase in arrhythmic events. The formation of levosimendan metabolites after oral dosing increased linearly with the daily dose of the parent drug, leading to increased inotropic and chronotropic response. Levosimendan was well tolerated in all studies.

In conclusion, levosimendan was safe and effective in the treatment of patients with acute or chronic ischaemia. The risk-benefit ratio of intravenous levosimendan is favourable up to the dose of 0.2 µg/kg/min. The daily dose of oral levosimendan in patients with ischaemic heart failure should not exceed 4 mg due to an increase in chronotropic response.

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Last updated 03.04.2006

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