Pentisomide, a new class I anti-arrhythmic drug, was compared to placebo in 50 hospitalized patients with frequent (greater than 30 h-1) and stable ventricular premature beats (VPB) (variation less than 50% between two preliminary and one placebo 24-h Holter recordings). All patients underwent a single-dose acute oral testing followed by a short-term testing with 300 mg t.i.d. for 4 days and then by a 4-day placebo period. For the studied population, a 56.4% reduction of simple VPB and a 98.8% decrease of couplets and runs were the minimum required to define the drug efficacy and to exclude spontaneous variability, using the linear regression analysis. Pentisomide was found effective in 27 (54%) of the 50 patients after the acute test and in 23 (46%) after the short-term test. The drug induced a mild increase of PR and QRS intervals, while QTc, heart rate, blood pressure and ejection fraction showed no significant variations. Subjective tolerability was excellent
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