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Mechanisms Underlying Hypotensive Response to ARB/NEP Inhibition - Aim 3

  • Study HIC#:2000028712
  • Last Updated:03/26/2024

This is a double-blind, randomized, two x two crossover (aprepitant vs placebo) during both initiation of Entresto, LCZ696, (50 mg dose) and at steady-state of Entresto (200 mg bid dose or the highest tolerated dose).

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    Christopher Maulion, MD

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    Trial Purpose and Description

    LCZ696, a molecular complex of the angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) valsartan with an inhibitor of neprilysin (NEP, neutral endopeptidase-24.11) sacubitril improved mortality compared to enalapril in patients with heart failure (HF), reduced ejection fraction (EF), and increased brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) or N-terminal pro-BNP (NT-proBNP) in the PARADIGM-HF trial. The PIONEER-HF study demonstrated the efficacy of LCZ696 in preventing rehospitalization in patients with acutely decompensated HF.

    LCZ696 has been underutilized in heart failure, in part due to concerns about hypotension. NEP degrades several vasodilator peptides including bradykinin, substance P and brain-type natriuretic peptide. Decreased degradation of endogenous substance P could contribute to hypotension at initiation of LCZ696 through vasodilation or through increased natriuresis and diuresis. Antagonism of the NK1 receptor using aprepitant would be expected to prevent this effect.


    The main objectives of this mechanistic randomized, double-blind, crossover-design study are:

    The primary objective is to test the hypothesis that endogenous substance P contributes to effects of ARB/NEP inhibition on blood pressure, natriuresis, and diuresis at initiation.

    The secondary objective is to test the hypothesis that endogenous substance P contributes to effects of ARB/NEP inhibition on blood pressure, natriuresis, and diuresis after up-titration.

    Eighty (80) subjects with stable heart failure who meet all inclusion/exclusion criteria will be enrolled. Subjects who qualify will collect their urine for 24 hours before each study day for measurement of volume, sodium and potassium. At the start of the study, they will stop their regular angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or ARB. After a 48-hour washout, they will undergo a study day in which they are given a single dose of 50 mg LCZ696. They will also receive either the NK1 receptor antagonist aprepitant or placebo vehicle in random order (double-blind). After a 96-hour washout, they will repeat the study day and receive a single dose of 50 mg LCZ696 and the opposite study drug (aprepitant or placebo). After completion of the two acute study days, subjects will take LCZ696 50 mg bid for two weeks, followed by LCZ696 100 mg bid for three weeks, and then LCZ696 200 mg bid, following the conservative up-titration protocol from the TITRATION study. Criteria for continuing up-titration appears in the full study protocol. On the 7th and 10th day of the 200 mg bid or highest tolerated dose, subjects will again undergo two more study days three days apart in which they are randomized to receive either aprepitant or placebo.

    Eligibility Criteria

    Inclusion Criteria:

    1. Black and white men and women
    2. Stable patients with a reduced ejection fraction (EF)
      1. EF ≤55%, and
      2. history of symptoms of New York Heart Association (NYHA) class I, II, or III heart failure (HF)
      3. stable clinical symptoms including no hospitalizations for the last three months, or one month if hospitalized only once for initial diagnosis of HF
      4. who are not already taking LCZ696
    3. treatment with a stable dose of an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEi) or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) and with a beta blocker (unless contraindicated or not tolerated) for at least four weeks
    4. for patients with NYHA Class II or III HF, treatment with a stable dose of an mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) antagonist for at least four weeks, unless not possible due to renal function or adverse reaction
    5. For female subjects, the following conditions must be met:
      1. postmenopausal status for at least one year
      2. status post-surgical sterilization
      3. or if childbearing potential, utilization of barrier methods of birth control or an oral contraceptive and willingness to undergo urine β-HCG testing on every study day
    6. Age 18 years of age or older

    Exclusion Criteria:

    1. History of hypersensitivity or allergy to any of the study drugs, drugs of similar chemical classes, ACEi, ARBs, or neutral endopeptidase inhibitor (NEPi), as well as known or suspected contraindications to the study drugs
    2. History of angioedema
    3. History of decompensated HF within the last 3 months (exacerbation of chronic HF manifested by signs and symptoms that required intravenous therapy or hospitalization) or one month if hospitalized only once for initial diagnosis of HF
    4. History of heart transplant or on a transplant list or with left ventricular assistance device
    5. Symptomatic hypotension and/or a systolic blood pressure (SBP)<100 mmHg at screening or <95 mmHg during the study
    6. Serum potassium >5.2 mmol/L at screening or during the study
    7. Impaired renal function (eGFR of <30mL/min/1.73 m2) as determined by the four-variable Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) equation, where serum creatinine (Scr) is expressed in mg/dL and age in years:

      a. eGFR (mL/min/1.73 m2)=175 • Scr-1.154 • age-0.203 • (1.212 if Black) • (0.742 if female)

    8. Acute coronary syndrome, cardiac, carotid, or other major cardiovascular surgery, percutaneous coronary intervention, or carotid angioplasty within six months prior to screening
    9. Coronary or carotid artery disease likely to require surgical or percutaneous intervention within six months of screening
    10. History of serious neurologic disease such as cerebral hemorrhage, stroke, seizure, or transient ischemic attack
    11. History of ventricular arrhythmia with syncopal episodes
    12. Symptomatic bradycardia or second- or third-degree atrioventricular block without a pacemaker
    13. Presence of hemodynamically significant mitral and/or aortic valve disease, except mitral regurgitation secondary to left ventricular (LV) dilatation
    14. Presence of other hemodynamically significant obstructive lesions of the LV outflow tract, including aortic and subaortic stenosis
    15. Type 1 diabetes
    16. Poorly controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), defined as a HgbA1c >9%
    17. In T2DM, dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor use for one month prior to enrollment will be excluded due to possible interaction with LCZ696
    18. Hematocrit <35%
    19. Breast feeding and pregnancy
    20. History or presence of immunological or hematological disorders
    21. History of malignancy not felt to be cured, except non-melanoma skin cancer
    22. Diagnosis of asthma requiring use of inhaled beta agonist more than once a week
    23. History of hypersensitivity reaction to contrast
    24. Clinically significant gastrointestinal impairment that could interfere with drug absorption
    25. History of pancreatitis or known pancreatic lesions
    26. Impaired hepatic function [aspartate amino transaminase (AST) and/or alanine amino transaminase (ALT) >3.0 x upper limit of normal range]
    27. Any underlying or acute disease requiring regular medication which could possibly pose a threat to the subject or make implementation of the protocol or interpretation of the study results difficult, such as arthritis treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
    28. Treatment with chronic systemic glucocorticoid therapy within the last year
    29. Treatment with lithium salts
    30. History of alcohol or drug abuse
    31. Treatment with any investigational drug in the one month preceding the study
    32. Mental conditions rendering the subject unable to understand the nature, scope, and possible consequences of the study
    33. Inability to comply with the protocol, e.g., uncooperative attitude, inability to return for follow-up visits, and unlikelihood of completing the study

    Principal Investigator


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