Most comparative clinical trials are designed to assess the treatment effect for efficacy endpoints, with less emphasis on the analysis of safety outcomes. However, an extensive analysis of safety data could demonstrate beneficial results in terms of effectiveness by reducing serious adverse events (SAEs), and their unfavourable clinical impact on the study population. We aimed to conduct an exploratory analysis of the CHInese Medicine Neuroaid Efficacy on Stroke recovery (CHIMES) study safety database comparing the frequency of SAEs and their clinical impacts among subjects having received MLC601 or placebo during the first 3 months post-stroke.
Analyses were performed by using the safety database of the multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled CHIMES study of 3 months of NeuroAiD versus placebo in subjects with acute ischaemic stroke of intermediate severity in the preceding 72 h. SAEs as reported by investigators at any time-point during the 3-month study were analysed on their frequency and that of any of their outcomes (death, and life threatening, new and/or prolonged hospitalisation, disability, and medical importance, in surviving subjects), as well as their time to onset and resolution.
Of the 1,099 subjects in the CHIMES study, 1,087 were included in the safety analysis (MLC601 = 542) and (placebo = 545); the 12 who did not receive study treatment were excluded. There was a total of 135 subjects with SAEs (MLC601 = 60, placebo = 75). At baseline, overall, subjects with SAEs were older and had lower MMSE score. In the MLC601 group, they had higher NIHSS score, and more frequently a history of ischaemic heart disease and hyperlipidaemia. The number of SAEs per subjects was statistically significantly lower in the MLC601 group than placebo one, especially for subjects with ≥2 SAEs (6.7 vs. 29.3%; p < 0.001). This benefit was seen throughout the study period and during the initial hospitalisation. The main clinical impact of SAEs was an increase in hospitalisation time, reduced in the MLC601 arm with the rate of subjects hospitalised for a prolonged period being significantly threefold lower in surviving subjects (1.1 vs. 3.7%; p < 0.01).
This post hoc analysis of SAEs from the CHIMES study database shows that subjects receiving a 3-month course of MLC601 experienced fewer SAEs, with lower rates of harmful clinical impacts, especially in terms of hospitalisation duration. These findings could translate to a benefit in terms of reduction of both healthcare burden and additional medical costs.

© 2020 The Author(s) Published by S. Karger AG, Basel.