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Cardiome says intravenous heart drug faster than oral rivals

(Reuters) - Cardiome Pharma Corp said an intravenous version of its drug to treat irregular heartbeat was found to be more effective than two rival oral drugs as it helped to bring patients' heartbeat back to normal levels in shorter time.

Shares of the Canadian company jumped 31 percent to an 18-month high of C$4.09 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday. The company's Nasdaq-listed shares also rose 31 percent.

Patients treated with the drug, vernakalant, could get their heartbeat back to normal levels in a median time of 12 minutes, the company said. The intravenous version is well-tolerated in patients with recent onset of atrial fibrillation, Cardiome said.

Those treated with propafenone and flecainide drugs could get their normal heartbeat back in 151 minutes and 162 minutes, respectively, the company said.

Vernakalant is used to treat chronic atrial fibrillation (AF), a heart rhythm disorder that can lead to stroke and heart failure.

The company said the open label study in patients with atrial fibrillation showed no adverse events.

The drug is approved in Europe and Latin America and is in late-stage trial in other markets, including the United States, according to Cardiome's website.

(Reporting by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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