Morrow, D. A., Scirica, B. M., Karwatowska-Prokopczuk, E., Murphy, S. A., Budaj, A., Varshavsky, S., Wolff, A. A., Skene, A., McCabe, C. H., Braunwald, E. Effects of ranolazine on recurrent cardiovascular events in patients with non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndromes: the MERLIN-TIMI 36 randomized trial JAMA. 2007;297(16):1775-83.

CONTEXT: Ranolazine is a novel antianginal agent that reduces ischemia in patients with chronic angina but has not been studied in patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS). OBJECTIVE: To determine the efficacy and safety of ranolazine during long-term treatment of patients with non-ST-elevation ACS. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PATIENTS: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multinational clinical trial of 6560 patients within 48 hours of ischemic symptoms who were treated with ranolazine (initiated intravenously and followed by oral ranolazine extended-release 1000 mg twice daily, n = 3279) or matching placebo (n = 3281), and followed up for a median of 348 days in the Metabolic Efficiency With Ranolazine for Less Ischemia in Non-ST-Elevation Acute Coronary Syndromes (MERLIN)-TIMI 36 trial between October 8, 2004, and February 14, 2007. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary efficacy end point was a composite of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction (MI), or recurrent ischemia through the end of study. The major safety end points were death from any cause and symptomatic documented arrhythmia.

RESULTS: The primary end point occurred in 696 patients (21.8%) in the ranolazine group and 753 patients (23.5%) in the placebo group (hazard ratio [HR], 0.92; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.83-1.02; P = .11). The major secondary end point (cardiovascular death, MI, or severe recurrent ischemia) occurred in 602 patients (18.7%) in the ranolazine group and 625 (19.2%) in the placebo group (HR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.86-1.08; P = .50). Cardiovascular death or MI occurred in 338 patients (10.4%) allocated to ranolazine and 343 patients (10.5%) allocated to placebo (HR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.85-1.15; P = .87). Recurrent ischemia was reduced in the ranolazine group (430 [13.9%]) compared with the placebo group (494 [16.1%]; HR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.76-0.99; P = .03). QTc prolongation requiring a reduction in the dose of intravenous drug occurred in 31 patients (0.9%) receiving ranolazine compared with 10 patients (0.3%) receiving placebo. Symptomatic documented arrhythmias did not differ between the ranolazine (99 [3.0%]) and placebo (102 [3.1%]) groups (P = .84). No difference in total mortality was observed with ranolazine compared with placebo (172 vs 175; HR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.80-1.22; P = .91).

CONCLUSIONS: The addition of ranolazine to standard treatment for ACS was not effective in reducing major cardiovascular events. Ranolazine did not adversely affect the risk of all-cause death or symptomatic documented arrhythmia. Our findings provide support for the safety and efficacy of ranolazine as antianginal therapy. TRIAL REGISTRATION: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00099788.