Background: Almitrine bismesylate (AB) is a peripheral chemoreceptor agonist which is believed to improve oxygenation of COPD patients with chronic hypoxaemia, probably by improving the ventilation perfusion mismatch. We studied the long-term effects of AB in COPD patients with chronic hypoxaemia. Methods: Design Prospective, randomised, double-blind, placelbo-controlled trial. Setting: Eight hundred bed teaching hospital with a catchment population of 350 000 inhabitants. Patient recruitment: COPD outpatients consulting between September 95 and September 99. Inclusion criteria: (1)- COPD (FEV1 <50%). (2) PaO2<65 mmHg. (3) Stable arterial blood gases (ABG), spirometry (S) and clinical state. Exclusion criteria: Asthma, restrictive disease, sleep apnoea syndrome, advanced renal or hepatic disease, peripheral neuropathy, use of respiratory stimulants or psychotrophic drugs. Treatment: AB1 mg/kg/day (weight <75 kg = 50 mg/day; weight ≥75 kg = 100 mg/day) in an intermittent schedule with resting periods of 1 month after the third, 6th and 9th months during 1 year. Instrumentation: Stabilisation period: S, ABG. Run-in period: S, ABG, 6-min walking test (WT), nocturnal pulse oximetry (NP) and quality of life evaluation (CRQ).Third, 6th and 9th months: S, ABG. End of the study: S, ABG, WT, NP, CRQ. Statistics: ANOVA for repeated measurements. Results: Two hundred and eighty-nine patients were evaluated and 81 were included in the study Sixty-six were followed for 6 months, 53 for 9 months and 42 for 1 year. Almitrine and placebo groups did not present significant differences in ABG and S in the 6th, 9th and 12th months. Evolution in WT, NP and CRQ were similar in the two groups. No relevant side-effects were detected: only two patients stopped treatment (one placebo and one AB). Conclusion: In an intermittent schedule, although well tolerated, at doses of 1 mg/kg/day, AB was not effective in long-term treatment of chronic hypoxemia in COPD patients. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Almitrine bismesylate
- Chronic hypoxaemia