In an earlier study, eplerenone was shown to improve survival in patients who had heart failure immediately following a heart attack. However, it is not known how patients with established mild-to-moderate heart failure (NYHA Class II), who have the additional risk of sudden death, will respond if treated with eplerenone. In this trial, eplerenone plus standard heart failure medicines is being compared to placebo plus standard heart failure medicines in terms of an additional ability to prolong life and prevent re-hospitalizations for worsening heart failure in these patients.
The Data Safety Monitoring Committee (DSMC) observed during its conduct of the protocol-specified second interim analysis on the 6th of May, 2010 that the efficacy of eplerenone had met the pre-specified stopping rules in the protocol. As a result of the discussion between the DSMC and the Executive Steering Committee (ESC), the ESC recommended that EMPHASIS-HF should be terminated, Based on the convincing efficacy and the consideration that it would be unethical not to offer this treatment to patients, the ESC recommended that all the patients in the trial should be transferred to open-label eplerenone. The Open Label Extension eplerenone arm will last for 12 months. Eplerenone is not currently approved for the indication studied in this patient population.
On May 26, 2010, further enrollment into EMPHASIS-HF was stopped. The amendment is considered to be the most appropriate way to ensure that all the subjects who participated in the double-blind phase of the EMPHASIS-HF trial can be offered treatment with eplerenone