Achieving appropriate endpoints in heart failure trials: the PRIME-II protocol

J R Hampton, D J van Veldhuisen, A J Cowley, F X Kleber, A Charlesworth

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Many clinical trials unintentionally include patients with a low risk of the trial endpoints. PRIME II (The Second Perspective Randomised study of Ibopamine on Mortality and Efficacy) was a large international randomised double blind trial comparing the addition of ibopamine or placebo to the therapy of patients with advanced heart failure. The trial was stopped prematurely because ibopamine was associated with an increased fatality rate, but the protocol achieved its objective of including high-risk patients. Here we describe the protocol details that enabled patients with the desired degree of risk to be included. We also amplify our definition of mode of death. The PRIME II protocol was designed with the intention that patients in the placebo group would have an annual fatality rate of 20%. Since the study was to be conducted in some 200 centres in 13 European countries, the inclusion criteria had to be simple and flexible, allowing for different clinical practice. The inclusion criteria, together with the use of simple investigations (which did not have to include angiographic or radionuclide ventriculography) are described. The annual fatality rate in the placebo group was just over 20%. Six categories of mode of death were used, but while they were reasonably easy to apply they did not reveal the reason for the unexpected adverse effect of ibopamine. The inclusion and exclusion criteria used for PRIME II, and the definitions of mode of death, were effective. The PRIME II protocol can be used as a model for future heart failure studies. (C) 1999 European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-93
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Heart Failure
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar-1999
Externally publishedYes


  • clinical trials
  • trial endpoints
  • ibopamine
  • heart failure

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