Adding Dantrolene Sodium Suspension to Body Cooling Improves Outcomes in Patients With Exertional Heat Stroke

November 4, 2020

By Louise Gagnon

OTTAWA, Ontario -- November 3, 2020 -- The adjunctive use of dantrolene sodium suspension to treat exertional heat stroke, in addition to body cooling, improved recovery of loss of consciousness, according to research presented at the 2020 Virtual Meeting of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

“The current treatment for exertional heat stroke is limited to rapid and efficient cooling via external methods with the goal of reducing the core body temperature,” said Mike Greenberg MD, Eagle Pharmaceuticals, Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. “In exertional heat stroke, reducing temperature in less than 30 minutes is critical; however, implementation of timely and appropriate cooling may be challenged by limited availability and access. Cold water or ice may not be readily available.”

The literature points to the fact that exertional heat stroke can lead to long term sequelae in some patients, with some patients who were previously healthy to experiencing exertional heat stroke suffering long-term, neurologic sequelae such as cerebellar dysfunction and cognitive impairment, noted Dr. Greenberg.

The researchers conducted randomised, controlled, two-arm, parallel studies in Saudi Arabia to evaluate the impact of dantrolene sodium suspension, administered intravenously, with body cooling, compared with just body cooling. Individuals included in the studies had a core temperature of at least 40 degrees Celsius, impaired loss of consciousness, recent history of exertion, and tachycardia.

The primary outcome for both studies was the cumulative incidence of recovery of loss of consciousness, defined as a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of ≥13 within 90 minutes of treatment administration.

Results showed that significantly more patients attained a GCS score ≥13 if they were exposed to both interventions compared with body cooling alone (47.4% vs 18.2%; P = .0452).

“Long-term outcomes are an area of future study in the treatment of exertional heat stroke,” said Dr. Greenberg.

Funding for this study was provided by Eagle Pharmaceuticals.

[Presentation title: Dantrolene Sodium Suspension (250 Mg/5mL) in Patients With Exertional Heat Stroke. Abstract 117]