Alpha 2 Agonists for Sedation to Produce Better Outcomes From Critical Illness (A2B Trial)

Overview

Many patients in intensive care (ICU) need help to breathe on a breathing machine and need pain killers and sedatives to keep them comfortable and pain free. However, keeping patients too deeply sedated can make their ICU stay longer, can cause ICU confusion (delirium) and afterwards may cause distressing memories. Ideally patients should be kept less sedated, but it is difficult to get the balance of sedation and comfort right. The investigators want to know whether starting an alpha2-agonist drug early in ICU can help keep patients more lightly sedated but still comfortable, and whether patients spend less time on the ventilator. The investigators also want to know how safe they are and if they can improve important outcomes during ICU stay and during recovery. The investigators also want to know if they are value for money.

Full Title of Study: “Alpha 2 Agonists for Sedation to Produce Better Outcomes From Critical Illness (A2B Trial): A Randomised, Parallel-group, Allocation Concealed, Controlled, Open, Phase 3 Pragmatic Clinical and Cost- Effectiveness Trial With Internal Pilot”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Treatment
    • Masking: None (Open Label)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: March 31, 2023

Detailed Description

Many patients in intensive care (ICU) need help to breathe on a breathing machine and need pain killers and sedatives to keep them comfortable and pain free. However, keeping patients too deeply sedated can make their ICU stay longer, can cause ICU confusion (delirium), and afterwards may cause distressing memories. Ideally, the investigators want to keep patients less sedated, but it is difficult to get the balance of sedation and comfort right. For sedation, most ICUs use a drug called 'propofol' that is good at reducing anxiety and making people sleepy, but is not a pain killer, so additional pain killers are needed. There are two other drugs used less often called 'alpha-2 agonists' that have both sedative and pain-killing actions, which may make it easier for patients to be more awake and comfortable on the ventilator. The two drugs are called clonidine and dexmedetomidine. The investigators want to know whether starting an alpha2-agonist drug early in ICU, and using this instead of propofol as much as possible, can help keep patients more lightly sedated but still comfortable, and whether patients spend less time on the ventilator with these drugs. The investigators also want to know how safe these drugs are and if improve important outcomes during ICU stay can be improved (like delirium, comfort, and safety) and during recovery (like bad memories, anxiety, and depression). The investigators also want to know if they are value for money. The trial will include 1737 participants needing to be on a ventilator for at least 2 days. Participants will be allocated to one of three groups by chance. One group will continue to receive propofol; one group will receive dexmedetomidine; and one group will receive clonidine. All participants will receive extra pain relief if needed, and participants in the dexmedetomidine and clonidine groups will continue to receive propofol if they need this in addition. Nurses and doctors will alter the doses of sedation drugs to try and reduce or stop them, but always aiming to have participants lightly sedated and comfortable. The trial will compare if participants on dexmedetomidine or clonidine come off the ventilator quicker than those just on propofol. The trial will examine whether there was a difference between the groups in the number of participants who experienced delirium in ICU, compare how comfortable participants were, and measure if participants memories of being in the ICU differed. Patients who were in the trial will be followed up for 180 days afterwards because the investigators want to compare if there were differences in the after-effects of being ill in ICU between the groups. Participants will be asked to complete questionnaires that will assess their memories of the ICU experience at 30 and 90 days after entering the trial. At 90 and 180 days, participants will be asked to complete questionnaires so that the investigators can detect how patients feel about their quality of life or if they suffer from anxiety, depression or stress. Alongside this trial, investigators will be looking at value for money, which is important because clonidine, dexmedetomidine, and propofol costs are quite different. Clonidine, in particular, is relatively inexpensive. ICU nurses' and doctors' views on how easy or difficult it was to adjust and use the drugs will be obtained. This will give valuable practical information that can be shared with other ICUs, particularly if alpha2-agonists are found to be better and other ICUs want to start using them.

Interventions

  • Drug: Dexmedetomidine
    • Patients will commence intravenous infusion of open-label study drug according to a weight-based dose regimen as early as possible post-randomisation, and within a maximum of two hours. Bedside clinical staff will transition patients to achieve sedation with the allocated α2-agonist agent as quickly as clinically feasible and safe, to replicate the way these drugs would be used in routine practice. Additional opiate will be used for analgesia using clinical judgement. Once established, additional propofol will only be used when the maximum α2-agonist dose is reached or because cardiovascular or other side-effects limit dose escalation.
  • Drug: Clonidine
    • Patients will commence intravenous infusion of open-label study drug according to a weight-based dose regimen as early as possible post-randomisation, and within a maximum of two hours. Bedside clinical staff will transition patients to achieve sedation with the allocated α2-agonist agent as quickly as clinically feasible and safe, to replicate the way these drugs would be used in routine practice. Additional opiate will be used for analgesia using clinical judgement. Once established, additional propofol will only be used when the maximum α2-agonist dose is reached or because cardiovascular or other side-effects limit dose escalation.
  • Drug: Propofol
    • Patients will continue to receive intravenous propofol according to current usual care.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: Dexmedetomidine Group
    • For dexmedetomidine, the regimen will follow the manufacturer’s guidance and regimens used in previous trials. Dexmedetomidine will be up and down titrated against sedation targets set by clinical staff and reviewed at regular intervals, and documented at least daily. No loading dose will be administered. The starting dose will be 0.7µg.kg-1.hour-1 titrated to a maximum dose 1.4µg.kg-1 hour-1. Lower starting doses will be used at clinical discretion for patients with cardiovascular instability.
  • Experimental: Clonidine Group
    • For clonidine, the regimen is designed to be equipotent with dexmedetomidine based on known pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. The chosen regimen is similar to that currently used in many UK ICUs as part of routine ‘off label’ practice. Clonidine will be up and down titrated against sedation targets set by clinical staff and reviewed at regular intervals, and at least daily. No loading dose will be administered. The starting dose will be 1.0µg.kg-1.hour-1 titrated to a maximum dose of 2µg.kg-1.hour-1. Lower starting doses will be used at clinical discretion for patients with cardiovascular instability.
  • Active Comparator: Usual Care (Propofol) Group
    • Usual Care Group : Patients will continue to receive intravenous propofol according to usual current care . The sedation targets, weaning, and sedation discontinuation procedures will follow the same clinical targets as for the clonidine and dexmedetomidine groups.

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Time to first successful extubation post-randomisation (hours).
    • Time Frame: Ventilation status will be recorded twice daily from the date of randomisation until the date of documented successful extubation, or 180 days, whichever comes first.
    • How many hours are participants on the study ventilated for?

Secondary Measures

  • Length of ICU stay
    • Time Frame: ICU status will be recorded daily from the date of randomisation until the date of ICU discharge, or 180 days, whichever comes first.
    • Number of days the participant is in ICU
  • Delirium prior to successful extubation
    • Time Frame: Delirium will be assessed twice daily during ICU stay using the Confusion-Agitation method for ICU (CAM-ICU). Delirium will be assessed from the date of randomisation until the date of ICU discharge, or 28 days, whichever comes first.
    • Did participants have delirium during ICU stay?
  • Duration of Delirium during ICU stay
    • Time Frame: Delirium will be assessed twice daily during ICU stay using the Confusion-Agitation method for ICU (CAM-ICU). Delirium will be assessed from the date of randomisation until the date of ICU discharge, or 28 days, whichever comes first.
    • How many days did participants have delirium during their ICU stay?
  • Sedation quality as measured by Richmond Agitation and Sedation Scale (RASS)
    • Time Frame: Sedation quality will be assessed 4 hourly during the period of ventilation from the date of randomisation until the participant is successfully extubated, or 28 days, whichever comes first.
    • Sedation quality as measured by Richmond Agitation and Sedation Scale (RASS). RASS scale ranges from -5 to +4. optimal score is between -2 and +1.
  • Sedation quality as measured by Sedation Quality Assessment Tool (SQAT)
    • Time Frame: Sedation quality will be assessed daily during the period of ventilation from the date of randomisation until the participant is successfully extubated, or 28 days, whichever comes first.
    • Two components of the SQAT assessment will be used in this trial to measure sedation quality.
  • Analgesia quality as measured by Richmond Agitation and Sedation Scale (RASS)
    • Time Frame: Analgesia quality will be assessed 4 hourly during the period of ventilation from the date of randomisation until the participant is successfully extubated, or 28 days, whichever comes first.
    • Quality of Analgesia measured by Richmond Agitation and Sedation Scale (RASS). RASS scale ranges from -5 to +4. optimal score is between -2 and +1.
  • Analgesia quality as measured by Sedation Quality Assessment Tool (SQAT)
    • Time Frame: Analgesia quality will be assessed daily during the period of ventilation from the date of randomisation until the participant is successfully extubated, or 28 days, whichever comes first.
    • Quality of Analgesia measured by Sedation Quality Assessment Tool (SQAT)
  • Number of hours to first optimum sedation as measured by a RASS score of -2 or greater
    • Time Frame: Level of sedation will be assessed 4 hourly during the period of ventilation from the date of randomisation until the participant is successfully extubated, or 28 days, whichever comes first.
    • Number of hours to first optimum sedation as measured by a RASS score of -2 or greater
  • Number of days to first optimum sedation as assessed by the Sedation Quality Assessment Tool (SQAT)
    • Time Frame: Level of sedation will be assessed daily during the period of ventilation from the date of randomisation until the participant is successfully extubated, or 28 days, whichever comes first.
    • Number of days to first optimum sedation as assessed by the Sedation Quality Assessment Tool (SQAT)
  • Ability to communicate pain
    • Time Frame: Ability to communicate pain will be assessed twice daily during the period of ventilation from the date of randomisation until the participant is successfully extubated, or 28 days, whichever comes first.
    • Binary assessment by bedside nurse
  • Ability to co-operate with care
    • Time Frame: Ability to co-operate with care will be assessed twice daily during the period of ventilation from the date of randomisation until the participant is successfully extubated, or 28 days, whichever comes first.
    • Binary assessment by bedside nurse
  • Relative/Partner/Friend (PerLR) assessment of wakefulness
    • Time Frame: Participant wakefulness will be assessed by a Relative/Partner/Friend daily during the period of ventilation from the date of randomisation until the participant is successfully extubated, or 28 days, whichever comes first.
    • PerLR response to verbal question
  • Relative/Partner/Friend (PerLR) assessment of patient comfort
    • Time Frame: Comfort of participant will be assessed by a Relative/Partner/Friend daily during the period of ventilation from the date of randomisation until the participant is successfully extubated, or 28 days, whichever comes first.
    • PerLR response to verbal question
  • Relative/Partner/Friend (PerLR) assessment of patient communication
    • Time Frame: Participant communication will be assessed by a Relative/Partner/Friend daily during the period of ventilation from the date of randomisation until the participant is successfully extubated, or 28 days, whichever comes first.
    • PerLR response to verbal question
  • Incidence of Drug-related adverse events – Bradycardia; hypotension; hypertension; cardiac arrhythmias; cardiac arrest
    • Time Frame: The incidence of drug-related adverse events as documented in the medical records will be recorded daily from the date of randomisation until the date of documented successful extubation, or 28 days, whichever comes first.
    • Incidence of drug-related adverse events as documented in the medical records
  • Incidence of Mortality
    • Time Frame: The incidence of death as documented in the medical records will be recorded from the date of randomisation until the date of the last follow-up visit at 180 days.
    • Mortality data collected from medical records
  • Patient experience of ICU care measured at 90 days
    • Time Frame: 90 days post ICU discharge
    • Patient experience of ICU care measured by Intensive Care Experience Questionnaire
  • Occurrence of Anxiety and depression at 180 days
    • Time Frame: 180 days post ICU discharge
    • Patient anxiety and depression measured by Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) questionnaire
  • Occurrence of Post-traumatic stress at 180 days
    • Time Frame: 180 post ICU discharge
    • Occurence of post-traumatic stress measured by Impact of Events Scale-revised (IES-R)
  • Cognitive function assessed at 180 days using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Tool (Postal or Telephone)
    • Time Frame: 180 days post ICU discharge
    • Cognitive function assessed at 180 days using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Tool (Postal or Telephone)
  • Health related Quality of Life (recalled) assessed by Euroqol tool (EQ-5D-5L)
    • Time Frame: 30 days post ICU discharge – recalled prior to hospital admission
    • Health related Quality of Life (recalled) assessed by Euroqol tool (EQ-5D-5L). Scale is between 5-25 which lower scores having the better outcome.
  • Health related Quality of Life (30 day) assessed by Euroqol tool (EQ-5D-5L)
    • Time Frame: 30 days post ICU discharge
    • Health related Quality of Life (30 day) assessed by Euroqol tool (EQ-5D-5L). Scale is between 5-25 which lower scores having the better outcome.
  • Health related Quality of Life (90 day) assessed by Euroqol tool (EQ-5D-5L)
    • Time Frame: 90 days post ICU discharge
    • Health related Quality of Life (90 day) assessed by Euroqol tool (EQ-5D-5L). Scale is between 5-25 which lower scores having the better outcome.
  • Health related Quality of Life (180 day) assessed by Euroqol tool (EQ-5D-5L)
    • Time Frame: 180 days post ICU discharge
    • Health related Quality of Life (180 day) assessed by Euroqol tool (EQ-5D-5L). Scale is between 5-25 which lower scores having the better outcome.

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

1. Patient requiring mechanical ventilation (MV) in an ICU 2. Aged 18 or over 3. Within 48 hours of first episode of mechanical ventilation in ICU 4. Requiring sedation with propofol 5. Expected to require a total of 48 hours of MV or more in ICU 6. Expected to require a further 24 hours of MV or more at the time of randomisation in the opinion of the responsible clinician Exclusion Criteria:

1. Acute brain injury (traumatic brain injury; intracranial haemorrhage; ischaemic brain injury from stroke or hypoperfusion) 2. Post-cardiac arrest (where there is clinical concern about hypoxic brain injury) 3. Status epilepticus 4. Continuous therapeutic neuromuscular paralysis at the time of screening or randomisation 5. Guillain-Barre Syndrome 6. Myasthenia gravis 7. Home ventilation 8. Fulminant hepatic failure 9. Patient not expected to survive 24 hours by responsible clinician 10. Decision to provide only palliative or end-of-life care 11. Pregnancy 12. Known allergy to one of the study drugs 13. Untreated second or third degree heart block 14. Transferred from another Intensive Care Unit in which MV occurred for >6 hours 15. Prisoners 16. Enrolled on another CTIMP 17. Previously enrolled on the A2B Trial 18. Patient known to have experienced a period with heart rate <50 beats per minute for 60 minutes or longer since commencing mechanical ventilation in the ICU

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: N/A

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • University of Edinburgh
  • Collaborator
    • West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Sponsor
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Timothy Walsh, MBChB MD MSc, Principal Investigator, University of Edinburgh
  • Overall Contact(s)
    • Timothy Walsh, MBChB MD MSc, +44 1312423137, timothy.walsh@ed.ac.uk

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