Brinavess treats atrial fibrillation better than competitor in trial, makers say

DENVER An investigational drug for treating a common form of abnormal heart rhythm works better than one already on the market, according to results of a late-stage clinical trial presented Friday.

Merck and Cardiome Pharma said results of a phase-3 trial of the injected drug Brinavess (vernakalant) corrected the heart rhythm of patients with atrial fibrillation within 90 minutes in 51.7% of patients, compared with 5.2% of patients taking amiodarone, widely available as a generic. Results of the study were presented at the annual meeting of the Hearth Rhythm Society.

“Atrial fibrillation is the most common abnormal heart rhythm, and its prevalence has increased over the past 20 years,” lead study investigator and University of London clinical cardiology professor John Camm said. “It is important to have therapies that convert patients back to a normal heart rhythm as quickly as possible.”

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