Acute hyperkalemia associated with inhalation of a potent ENaC antagonist: Phase 1 trial of GS-9411

Academic Article


  • Background: Inhaled epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) blockers are designed to increase airway surface liquid volume, thereby benefiting cystic fibrosis patients. This study evaluated the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of multiple doses of ENaC blocker GS-9411, in healthy participants. Methods: This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, residential, Phase 1 study evaluated inhaled GS-9411 (2.4, 4.8, and 9.6mg) or placebo, dosed twice daily for 14 days. Results and Conclusions: GS-9411 was well tolerated; 86.1% of treated participants completed dosing (n=31/36). Cough and dizziness (27.8% participants each; most of mild severity) were the most commonly reported adverse events and occurred in both placebo and GS-9411 treatment groups. Arrhythmias were not observed for GS-9411-treated participants, and electrocardiographic changes were not considered clinically significant. Serum potassium levels exceeded the upper limit of normal (>5 mmol/L), 4hr after the morning dose in GS-9411 (n=16/24) and placebo (n=4/12) treatment groups (38 incidences total). Retesting revealed levels had returned to normal within 2-3hr. In urine electrolyte analyses, obtained 0-6hr after the Day 1 morning dose, mean sodium/potassium ratios significantly increased from values 0-6hr before dosing. Increased urine sodium/potassium ratios corresponded with high urine concentrations of active GS-9411 metabolites, which inhibited sodium reabsorption in the kidney, leading to the observed transient hyperkalemia in these participants. Inhaled GS-9411 was well tolerated except for the emergence of transient clinically significant hyperkalemia; this finding resulted in termination of further clinical development of this drug and will necessitate development of a new generation of ENaC blockers, which provide a sustained improvement in mucociliary clearance, while reducing renal exposure to ENaC blockade. Transient increases in mean urine sodium/potassium ratios appeared to be the first signal of electrolyte imbalances resulting from drug-induced block of ENaC in the kidney. The results of this study strongly suggest that clinical trials of novel ENaC blockers will require intensive measurement of plasma and urine electrolyte levels. © 2014, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2014.
  • Authors

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    Author List

  • O'riordan TG; Donn KH; Hodsman P; Ansede JH; Newcomb T; Lewis SA; Flitter WD; White VS; Johnson MR; Montgomery AB
  • Start Page

  • 200
  • End Page

  • 208
  • Volume

  • 27
  • Issue

  • 3