CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A medication used in a clinical trial is showing some promising results for people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM for short.

The disease, which causes abnormal thickening of the heart muscle, affects between 15 and 20 million people worldwide.

“Common symptoms are shortness of breath, dizziness with exertion and lightheadedness. Occasionally, they may have chest pain and passing out, commonly with exertion or due to arrhythmias,” explained Milind Desai, MD, cardiologist for Cleveland Clinic and principal investigator for the clinical trial.

Dr. Desai said they wanted to explore newer medical therapies for patients with HCM, so they decided to test the medication “Mavacamten.”

Based on the results, it appears to be an effective form of treatment for those who would have otherwise needed an invasive procedure.

Dr. Desai said patients who took the medication reported an improvement in symptoms and quality of life.

“This disease has been barely recognized for about 60 odd years, so the evolution of diagnostic techniques in this disease, the evolution of invasive techniques in this disease and now the evolution of precision medications in this disease is huge if you take the spectrum of time we are talking about,” said Dr. Desai.

The medication used in the trial is currently awaiting approval from the FDA.