Administration of the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor NG-methyl-L-arginine hydrochloride (546C88) by intravenous infusion for up to 72 hours can promote the resolution of shock in patients with severe sepsis: results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter study (study no. 144-002)

Jan Bakker, Robert Grover, Angela McLuckie, Laurent Holzapfel, Jan Andersson, Robert Lodato, David Watson, Steven Grossman, Jill Donaldson, Jukka Takala
Critical Care Medicine 2004, 32 (1): 1-12

OBJECTIVE: To assess the safety and efficacy of the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor 546C88 in patients with septic shock. The predefined primary efficacy objective was resolution of shock, defined as a mean arterial pressure > or =70 mm Hg in the absence of both conventional vasopressors and study drug, determined at the end of the 72-hr treatment period.

DESIGN: Multicentered, randomized, placebo-controlled, safety and efficacy study.

SETTING: Forty-eight intensive care units in Europe, North America, and Australia.

PATIENTS: A total of 312 patients with septic shock diagnosed within 24 hr before randomization.

INTERVENTIONS: Patients were randomly allocated to receive either 546C88 or placebo (5% dextrose) by intravenous infusion for up to 72 hrs. Conventional vasoactive therapy was restricted to norepinephrine, dopamine, and dobutamine. Study drug was initiated at 0.1 mL/kg/hr (5 mg/kg/hr 546C88) and titrated according to response up to a maximum rate of 0.4 mL/kg/hr with the objective to maintain mean arterial pressure at 70 mm Hg while attempting to withdraw any concurrent vasopressor(s).

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Requirement for vasopressors, systemic hemodynamics, indices of organ function and safety (including survival up to day 28) were assessed. The median mean arterial pressure for both groups was maintained >70 mm Hg. Administration of 546C88 was associated with a decrease in cardiac index while stroke index was maintained. Resolution of shock at 72 hr was achieved by 40% and 24% of the patients in the 546C88 and placebo cohorts, respectively (p =.004). There was no evidence that treatment with 546C88 had any major adverse effect on pulmonary, hepatic, or renal function. Day 28 survival was similar for both groups.

CONCLUSIONS: In this study, treatment with the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor 546C88 promoted the resolution of shock in patients with severe sepsis. This was associated with an acceptable overall safety profile.

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