In patients with septic shock, the blood pressure is so low that the blood supply to the body’s vital organs is compromised. Intensive Care doctors administer adrenaline-like medicines to keep the blood pressure high enough to keep patients alive. However, patients who require high doses of these medicines often develop side effects and the risk of death in these patients exceeds 50%. Dr Paul Young led the ATHOS 3 trial in New Zealand investigating a new drug called LJPC-501, which is a synthetic form of a human protein called angiotensin-II designed to increase blood pressure. The ATHOS 3 trial was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and showed that LJPC-501 increases blood pressure in patients with septic shock requiring high doses of conventional treatments. The trial also showed that LJPC-501 is well tolerated and does not increase the risk of side effects compared to standard treatment.
Comment: This therapeutic agent is the first new pharmaceutical agent that has been shown to be effective for the treatment of shock in the last 50 years, and should be available for use in New Zealand within the next few years.