Résumé : Background: Vasopressin is widely used for vasopressor support in septic shock patients, but experimental evidence suggests that selective V1A agonists are superior. The initial pharmacodynamic effects, pharmacokinetics, and safety of selepressin, a novel V1A-selective vasopressin analogue, was examined in a phase IIa trial in septic shock patients. Methods: This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter trial in 53 patients in early septic shock (aged ≥18 years, fluid resuscitation, requiring vasopressor support) who received selepressin 1.25 ng/kg/minute (n = 10), 2.5 ng/kg/minute (n = 19), 3.75 ng/kg/minute (n = 2), or placebo (n = 21) until shock resolution or a maximum of 7 days. If mean arterial pressure (MAP) ≥65 mmHg was not maintained, open-label norepinephrine was added. Co-primary endpoints were maintenance of MAP >60 mmHg without norepinephrine, norepinephrine dose, and proportion of patients maintaining MAP >60 mmHg with or without norepinephrine over 7 days. Secondary endpoints included cumulative fluid balance, organ dysfunction, pharmacokinetics, and safety. Results: A higher proportion of the patients receiving 2.5 ng/kg/minute selepressin maintained MAP >60 mmHg without norepinephrine (about 50% and 70% at 12 and 24 h, respectively) vs. 1.25 ng/kg/minute selepressin and placebo (p < 0.01). The 7-day cumulative doses of norepinephrine were 761, 659, and 249 μg/kg (placebo 1.25 ng/kg/minute and 2.5 ng/kg/minute, respectively; 2.5 ng/kg/minute vs. placebo; p < 0.01). Norepinephrine infusion was weaned more rapidly in selepressin 2.5 ng/kg/minute vs. placebo (0.04 vs. 0.18 μg/kg/minute at 24 h, p < 0.001), successfully maintaining target MAP and reducing norepinephrine dose vs. placebo (first 24 h, p < 0.001). Cumulative net fluid balance was lower from day 5 onward in the selepressin 2.5 ng/kg/minute group vs. placebo (p < 0.05). The selepressin 2.5 ng/kg/minute group had a greater proportion of days alive and free of ventilation vs. placebo (p < 0.02). Selepressin (2.5 ng/kg/minute) was well tolerated, with a similar frequency of treatment-emergent adverse events for selepressin 2.5 ng/kg/minute and placebo. Two patients were infused at 3.75 ng/kg/minute, one of whom had the study drug infusion discontinued for possible safety reasons, with subsequent discontinuation of this dose group. Conclusions: In septic shock patients, selepressin 2.5 ng/kg/minute was able to rapidly replace norepinephrine while maintaining adequate MAP, and it may improve fluid balance and shorten the time of mechanical ventilation. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01000649. Registered on September 30, 2009.