Up to 2 million people in the U.S. may experience rapid heartbeats, known as paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), which often leads to hospitalization. However, a new study has found that an investigational nasal spray could help individuals with PSVT safely and quickly slow their heart rates on their own.
Traditionally, PSVT has been treated with intravenous medication administered in the emergency room or by paramedics when vagal maneuvers, physical actions that slow the heart through stimulation of the vagus nerve, are not effective. However, this new study, led by Dr. James Ip from Weill Cornell Medical Center, suggests that a nasal spray called etripamil could provide a self-treatment option for PSVT.
In a clinical trial funded by Milestone Pharma, the nasal spray was found to slow heart rates within 30 minutes when self-administered. Etripamil is a type of drug known as a calcium channel blocker, which is known to slow down heart rates. Currently, there are no approved medications for treating PSVT without direct medical supervision.
The study involved participants who wore an electrocardiogram (ECG) patch linked to a cellphone to track their symptoms. During PSVT episodes, they performed vagal maneuvers and self-administered the nasal spray if their rapid heart rate persisted. The results showed that etripamil restored heart rates to normal within 30 minutes in 60% of episodes and within an hour in 75% of episodes.
The nasal spray was found to have minimal side effects, such as nasal congestion or a runny nose, and did not cause serious heart-related adverse effects. In comparison, oral medications for PSVT may take longer to work and may have additional safety concerns.
Milestone Pharma plans to submit a new drug application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October. The nasal spray is also being studied for its effectiveness in treating atrial fibrillation and in children aged 6 to 17.
Experts believe that if approved, this self-administered nasal spray could be a game changer for the millions of people who experience rapid heartbeats. Current treatment options for PSVT, such as catheter ablation or vagal maneuvers, are not always ideal or effective for everyone.
Dr. Javier Banchs, director of electrophysiology and pacing at Baylor Scott & White Health, commented on the significance of having a safe and effective pharmacological treatment for PSVT that can be self-administered. Experts agree that this nasal spray could become the treatment of choice for individuals with PSVT.
– Dr. James Ip, Weill Cornell Medical Center
– Milestone Pharma
– Study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association
– Dr. Deepak Bhatt, Mount Sinai Heart
– Dr. Javier Banchs, Baylor Scott & White Health
– Dr. Adam Shapira, Baylor Scott & White Health
– U.S. National Library of Medicine