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J Am Coll Cardiol. 1993 Nov 15;22(6):1564-73.

Double-blind placebo-controlled study of ibopamine and digoxin in patients with mild to moderate heart failure: results of the Dutch Ibopamine Multicenter Trial (DIMT).

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Department of Cardiology/Thoraxcenter, University Hospital, Groningen, The Netherlands.



This study was conducted to determine the efficacy and safety of long-term treatment with the orally active dopamine agonist ibopamine in patients with mild to moderate chronic congestive heart failure and to compare the results with those of treatment with digoxin and placebo.


Ibopamine and digoxin are drugs that exert hemodynamic and neurohumoral effects. Because there is accumulating evidence that progression of disease in chronic heart failure is related not only to hemodynamic but also to neurohumoral factors, both drugs might be expected to have a favorable long-term effect.


We studied 161 patients with mild to moderate chronic heart failure (80% in New York Heart Association functional class II and 20% in class III), who were treated with ibopamine (n = 53), digoxin (n = 55) or placebo (n = 53) for 6 months. Background therapy consisted of furosemide (0 to 80 mg); all other drugs for heart failure were excluded. Clinical assessments were made at baseline and after 1, 3 and 6 months.


Of the 161 patients, 128 (80%) completed the study. Compared with placebo, digoxin but not ibopamine significantly increased exercise time after 6 months (p = 0.008 by intention to treat analysis). Ibopamine was only effective in patients with relatively preserved left ventricular function, as it significantly increased exercise time in this subgroup (for patients with a left ventricular ejection fraction > 0.30; p = 0.018 vs. placebo). No patient receiving digoxin withdrew from the study because of progression of heart failure, compared with six patients receiving ibopamine and two receiving placebo. At 6 months, plasma norepinephrine was decreased with digoxin and ibopamine therapy (-106 and -13 pg/ml, respectively) but increased with placebo administration (+62 pg/ml) (both p < 0.05 vs. placebo). Plasma aldosterone was unaffected, but renin was decreased by both agents after 6 months (p < 0.05 vs. placebo). Total mortality and ambulatory arrhythmias were not significantly affected by the two drugs.


Ibopamine and digoxin both inhibit neurohumoral activation in patients with mild to moderate chronic heart failure. However, the clinical effects of these drugs are different and appear to be related to the degree of left ventricular dysfunction.

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