Weill Cornell Medicine in the US has led a clinical trial of the etripamil nasal spray to safely treat recurrent episodes of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), a condition that causes abnormal heart rhythms.

An experimental calcium-channel blocker drug, etripamil is intended for administration by patients in an at-home setting, without needing a physician.

The study involved 1,116 patients across 148 sites in the US, Canada, and South America.

Patients with a history of atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter were part of the trial.

They were instructed to use a home electrocardiogram monitor to track their heart for one hour after self-administering etripamil. If necessary, a second dose was allowed, and patients could treat up to four PSVT episodes with the drug.

The findings revealed that two-thirds of the patients who self-administered one or more etripamil doses experienced symptom relief within an hour, with the average time for symptom relief being 17 minutes.

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Although mild nasal symptoms, such as runny nose, congestion, discomfort, or bloody nose, were reported after the first use, these side effects decreased with subsequent uses.

The study’s significance lies in its demonstration that etripamil can be used effectively and safely by a broad range of patients to treat recurrent PSVT episodes at home. This could potentially reduce the need for hospital visits and more invasive treatments.

PSVT episodes, while not typically life-threatening, can cause distressing symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, or fainting, leading to frequent emergency department visits.

Current treatments for PSVT often require hospitalisation for intravenous medication administration.

This trial data builds upon prior findings, which confirm the safety and effectiveness of etripamil in real-world conditions for a larger patient population.

The results suggests that etripamil could be a viable option for treating multiple PSVT episodes, offering a less invasive and more convenient alternative to traditional hospital-based treatments.