The anti-inflammatory drug failed to meet primary endpoints in patients who suffered an acute heart attack.
Inflammation after a heart attack is a large risk that can increase additional cardiovascular risks. Due to inflammation, patients can experience less healing of the tissue, increased plaque formation, and possibly another heart attack.
In a study presented at the American College of Cardiology's 65th Annual Scientific Session, researchers found no improvement among patients taking the anti-inflammatory drug losmapimod for 12 weeks after a heart attack.
Losmapimod inhibits the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, which is an enzyme in heart muscle. It is activated by different heart related stressors, including heart attacks.
In this study, 3500 patients who suffered acute heart attacks were given this drug and their progress was monitored. Half of the patients received 7.5 milligrams of losmapimod twice per day and half received a placebo.
The researchers hoped the see a decrease in deaths, cardiovascular revascularization, and another heart attack.
After 12 weeks of monitoring the patients, researchers found that there was no difference between those who received the placebo and those taking losmapimod.
Due to this finding, the trial failed to reach its endpoint and did not continue any further.
Researchers remain hopeful losmapimod may be able to help different subgroups, such as patients who have experienced a more severe heart attack.
Losmapimod was observed to have what the researchers call “interesting signals” in regards to patients who had a more severe heart attack, such as ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. They believe that conducting more trials within that subgroup may prove the efficacy of the drug.
"We are intrigued by the potential signal towards benefit, which was supported, at least in concept, by an earlier study that showed favorable effects in terms of left ventricular function following myocardial infarction,” Michelle O'Donoghue, MD said in a press release. “Thus, it remains possible that losmapimod may have favorable effects on healing of the heart after a heart attack, but that would require a separate study.
A future study that addresses the limitations of the current study, such as duration and focusing on specific groups could prove the efficacy of losmapimod.