Efficacy and safety of perhexiline maleate in refractory angina. A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial of a novel antianginal agent.
Despite large gains in the medical and surgical treatment of angina pectoris in the past two decades, many patients are refractory to conventional medical therapy and are unsuitable for a first or, more commonly, repeat coronary revascularization procedure. We evaluated the efficacy of perhexiline maleate, a drug with an antianginal mechanism of action in humans that is as yet unknown, by using a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled crossover design in 17 patients with refractory angina who continued to receive maximal antianginal therapy, typically including nitrates, a beta-blocker, and a calcium channel antagonist. In view of perhexiline's potential for hepatic and neurological toxicity, plasma drug levels were monitored and maintained in the 150-600 ng/ml range. Sixty-three percent of patients were judged perhexiline responders by objective exercise testing criteria, as compared with 18% of patients on placebo (p less than 0.05). By blinded review of subjective measures of anginal frequency and severity, 65% of patients noted an improvement while on perhexiline, whereas no patient identified the placebo phase with improvement. Side effects observed in 29% of patients were minor and related to transient elevations of blood levels of more than 600 ng/ml; no patient suffered hemodynamic or cardiac conduction abnormalities attributable to perhexiline. With attention to the pharmacokinetics of perhexiline's elimination in individual patients, this novel antianginal agent seems to be safe and effective and deserves further evaluation in patients already receiving maximal antianginal therapy who are not candidates for revascularization procedures.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association