Investigational Drug Proven Ineffective in Preventing Kidney Injury

The experimental drug CMX-2043 protected heart muscle from stenting but it has shown no increased protection in kidneys.

Contrast dyes are commonly used in angiograms to identify blockages in arteries. The danger of these dyes, however, is that they can cause kidney damage, lower urine output, and could potentially stop kidney function altogether.

This is a common risk for patients with diabetes or chronic kidney disease.

The only known prevention of kidney damage during this process is hydrating the patient before the procedure. While this is effective in some cases, it would not be successful in emergency situations and can be time consuming.

In a study presented at the American College of Cardiology's 65th Annual Scientific Session, researchers explored the experimental drug CMX-2043 as an option to prevent contrast-induced kidney injury.

This double-blind study included 361 patients from 31 medical centers. All patients were scheduled for an angiogram and would most likely need an angioplasty due to a blockage.

The subjects also had mild, moderate, or severe loss of kidney function. Patients with other risk factors such as diabetes, low blood pressure, or were over 75-years-old were included.

Patients either received: a small dose, a large dose, 1 small dose followed by another small dose 24 hours later, or a placebo before their angiograms.

Over a span of 90 days, the researchers followed up with patients to see if there was a reduction in kidney injury.

After 4 days, all patients were observed to have similar rates of contrast-induced kidney injury.

"The thought was that this drug had antioxidant and cell membrane stabilizing effects and that these benefits would translate into less kidney cell damage and heart muscle damage," Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, MPH, FACC said in a press release. "But as is often the case in this field, drugs that seem to be good based on preclinical work, when used in humans don't always have an effect."

Researchers said they are hopeful that they will be able to conduct a similar experiment in the future with a different drug.