Sildenafil does not improve cardiomyopathy in Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy

Ann Neurol. 2014 Jul 4. doi: 10.1002/ana.24214. [Epub ahead of print]

Sildenafil does not improve cardiomyopathy in Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy.

Leung DG1, Herzka DA, Thompson WR, He B, Bibat G, Tennekoon G, Russell SD, Schuleri KH, Lardo AC, Kass DA, Thompson RE, Judge DP, Wagner KR


Objective: Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy (DBMD) are allelic disorders caused by mutations in dystrophin. Adults with DBMD develop life-threatening cardiomyopathy. Inhibition of phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) improves cardiac function in mouse models of DBMD. To determine if the PDE5-inhibitor sildenafil benefits human dystrophinopathy, we conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (, number NCT01168908). Methods: Adults with DBMD and cardiomyopathy (ejection fraction ≤50%) were randomized to receive sildenafil (20mg three times daily) or placebo for 6 months. All subjects received an additional 6 months of open-label sildenafil. The primary endpoint was change in left ventricular end-systolic volume (LVESV) on cardiac MRI. Secondary cardiac endpoints, skeletal muscle function, and quality of life were also assessed.

Results: An interim analysis (performed after 15 subjects completed the blinded phase) revealed that 29% (4/14) of subjects had a ≥10% increase in LVESV after 6 months of sildenafil compared to 13% (1/8) of subjects receiving placebo. Subjects with LVESV >120ml at baseline were more likely to worsen at 12 months regardless of treatment assignment (p=0.035). Due to the higher number of subjects worsening on sildenafil, the Data and Safety Monitoring Board recommended early termination of the study. There were no statistically significant differences in outcome measures between treatment arms. Interpretation: Due to the small sample size, comparisons between groups must be interpreted with caution. However, this trial suggests that sildenafil is unlikely to improve cardiac function in adults with DBMD.

ANN NEUROL 2014. © 2014 American Neurological Association.

Copyright © 2014 American Neurological Association.

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