A Randomized Double-Blind Control-Comparison Crossover Trial of Oral Glutamine to Suppress Frequently Recurrent Herpes Labialis

This study has been terminated.
(Terminated due to slow recruitment.)
Sponsor:
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Jeffrey Cohen, National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
NCT00913692
First received: June 3, 2009
Last updated: May 3, 2012
Last verified: May 2012
  Purpose

Background:

  • A cold sore is usually a blistering rash on or near the lips, caused by infection with herpes simplex virus. After the first infection, the virus goes into a dormant (inactive) state, but it can continue to cause cold sores.
  • Most people with the herpes simplex virus have a few episodes of cold sores per year. However, some individuals may have many recurrent episodes that are uncomfortable and may cause embarrassment. Researchers are attempting to find treatments that can decrease the number of cold sore episodes for people who have six or more episodes per year.
  • Glutamine is a molecule called an amino acid and is one of the components that make up proteins in the body. Clinical studies using glutamine have addressed the potential of glutamine to improve immune function and to heal damaged tissue or to help healing.

Objectives:

- To find out if the dietary supplement glutamine can help individuals with frequently recurring (more than six episodes per year) cold sores.

Eligibility:

  • Patients between 18 and 65 years of age who have a history of having six or more cold sore episodes per year, and have not received certain kinds of drug treatment for the cold sores within 1 month of beginning the study.
  • Patients who have two or more episodes of cold sores caused by the herpes simplex virus will be eligible for treatment as part of this study.

Design:

  • Initial clinical visit for a physical examination and medical history, at which blood samples will be drawn for testing.
  • Eligible participants will undergo a 4-month screening period. Patients who develop sores during this period will visit the NIH to have the sore examined to determine if it is caused by the herpes virus. Patients who have two or more episodes of cold sores caused by the herpes simplex virus will be eligible for treatment.
  • Patients who are eligible for treatment will provide an initial blood sample and will receive randomized doses of either glutamine or glycine (another amino acid), which must be taken on a regular schedule twice daily, mixed with either liquid or soft food. Patients who develop sores during this period will visit the NIH to have the sore examined to determine if it is caused by the herpes virus. Blood, urine, and saliva specimens will be collected each month during the treatment period. A 2-week washout period will occur between the 2 treatment periods when no doses of glutamine or glycine will be taken.
  • Patients will then undergo a second 5-month treatment period with either glutamine or glycine (whichever was not given in the first part of the study), taken in the same manner as before. Patients who develop sores during this period will visit the NIH to have the sore examined to determine if it is caused by the herpes virus.
  • After the second treatment, patients will remain in touch with researchers for 1 month to note any changes.

Condition Intervention Phase
Herpes Labialis
Herpes Simplex Virus
Drug: Glutamine
Drug: Glycine
Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: A Randomized Double-Blind Control-Comparison Crossover Trial of Oral Glutamine to Suppress Frequently Recurrent Herpes Labialis

Resource links provided by NLM:


Further study details as provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Does Oral Glutamine Reduce the Number of Recurrences of Herpes Labialis, Diagnosed by Clinical and Microbiologic Criteria, in Healthy Participants With Frequently Recurrent Disease. [ Time Frame: The screening phase time frame was 4 months. Treatment phase 1 was 5 months. Washout phase was 2 weeks. Treatment phase 2 was 5 months. ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    During all phases of the study, participants returned to clinic whenever they had a herpes labialis outbreak for staff to assess, obtain a viral swab and document. If unable to return to clinic in the time frame specified in the protocol, participants would take a photo and obtain a swab of the lesion. The number of outbreaks would be measured during each phase.


Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Does Oral Glutamine Reduce the Number of Clinical Recurrences of Herpes Labialis With or Without PCR Confirmation? [ Time Frame: The screening phase time frame was 4 months. Treatment phase 1 was 5 months. Washout phase was 2 weeks. Treatment phase 2 was 5 months. ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    During all phases of the study, participants returned to clinic whenever they had a herpes labialis outbreak for staff to assess, obtain a viral swab and document. If unable to return to clinic in the time frame specified in the protocol, participants would take a photo and obtain a swab of the lesion. The number of recurrences would be documented during each phase of the study.

  • Does Oral Glutamine Reduce the Time to First Recurrence of Herpes Labialis Diagnosed by Clinical and Microbiologic Criteria or Diagnosed by Clinical Criteria With or Without PCR Confirmation? [ Time Frame: The screening phase time frame was 4 months. Treatment phase 1 was 5 months. Washout phase was 2 weeks. Treatment phase 2 was 5 months. ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    During all phases of the study, participants returned to clinic whenever they had a herpes labialis outbreak for staff to assess, obtain a viral swab and document. If unable to return to clinic in the time frame specified in the protocol, participants would take a photo and obtain a swab of the lesion. The number of recurrences and start and end dates of each recurrence would be documented during each phase of the study.

  • Does Oral Glutamine Reduce the Duration of Recurrences? [ Time Frame: The screening phase time frame was 4 months. Treatment phase 1 was 5 months. Washout phase was 2 weeks. Treatment phase 2 was 5 months. ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    During all phases of the study, participants returned to clinic whenever they had a herpes labialis outbreak for staff to assess, obtain a viral swab and document. If unable to return to clinic in the time frame specified in the protocol, participants would take a photo and obtain a swab of the lesion. The number of recurrences and start and end dates of each recurrence would be documented.

  • Does Oral Glutamine Reduce the Area of Recurrent Lesions? [ Time Frame: The screening phase time frame was 4 months. Treatment phase 1 was 5 months. Washout phase was 2 weeks. Treatment phase 2 was 5 months. ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    During all phases of the study, participants returned to clinic whenever they had a herpes labialis outbreak for staff to assess, obtain a viral swab and document. If unable to return to clinic in the time frame specified in the protocol, participants would take a photo and obtain a swab of the lesion. The number of recurrences, start and end dates of each recurrence and measurement of each lesion during each phase of the study would be documented.


Enrollment: 11
Study Start Date: June 2009
Study Completion Date: December 2011
Primary Completion Date: December 2011 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Intervention Details:
    Drug: Glutamine
    Subjects were randomized to take one of the study agents, 15 gm by mouth twice daily for 5 months. After a 2 week washout period, subjects began the other agent at 15 gm by mouth twice daily for 5 months.
    Drug: Glycine
    Subjects were randomized to take one of the study agents, 15 gm by mouth twice daily for 5 months. After a 2 week washout period, subjects began the other agent at 15 gm by mouth twice daily for 5 months.
Detailed Description:

Frequently recurrent herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infection of the lips or perioral area, known as herpes labialis, or commonly as cold sores, can cause discomfort, pain, and embarrassment. Traditional antiviral therapies are moderately effective in suppressing these recurrences. Studies have shown that the amino acid glutamine can affect HSV-1 reactivation in vitro. Glutamine has been studied in various clinical situations and has been found to decrease morbidity in critically ill patients (reducing nosocomial infections), in patients receiving chemotherapy or undergoing bone marrow transplantation (reducing severity of stomatitis, reducing incidence of infection, shortening hospital stay), and in patients with short gut syndrome (decreasing requirement for parenteral nutrition). No significant adverse consequences of glutamine therapy have been reported in these patients. We will conduct a randomized, double-blind, control-comparison crossover trial comparing the efficacy of glutamine versus glycine (control) to suppress recurrences of herpes labialis in patients with frequent episodes (greater than or equal to 6 per year). Based on our in vitro and in vivo data, we hypothesize that oral glutamine will decrease the number of recurrences of herpes labialis during a 5-month treatment period in participants with frequently recurring herpes labialis compared with control.

  Eligibility

Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 65 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
Criteria
  • INCLUSION CRITERIA:

    1. Adults, ages 18 to 65, who report a history of 6 or more episodes of herpes labialis per year.
    2. Subject agrees to refrain from using over the counter (OTC), prescription or supplemental antiviral medications without obtaining permission from the study team during the course of the study.
    3. Women with child-bearing potential are required and willing to practice two effective methods of birth control beginning with the first treatment period and continuing until the end of the study.
    4. Women with child-bearing potential are required to have a negative pregnancy test at the time of enrollment and at the time of randomization.
    5. To be eligible for randomization in the treatment phase of the study, the participants must experience at least 2 clinically confirmed episodes of herpes labialis, 1 of which must be virologically confirmed, during the 4 month screening period.

EXCLUSION CRITERIA:

  1. Oral or intravenous antiviral therapy < 4 weeks before enrollment or during the study with the following agents is not permitted: acyclovir (intravenous), ganciclovir (intravenous or oral), valganiciclovir (oral), cidofovir (intravenous), or foscarnet (intravenous).

    1. Suppressive therapy with oral acyclovir, valacyclovir or famciclovir or with topical antivirals 4 weeks prior to enrollment or during the study is not permitted.
    2. Use of oral acyclovir or valacyclovir or famciclovir or topical antiviral ointments or creams for the treatment of herpes labialis outbreaks during the study is permitted AFTER the outbreak has been documented by the study team..
  2. Evidence of active herpes labialis reactivation at the time of enrollment. The volunteer can be enrolled after resolution of herpes labialis and if inclusion and exclusion criteria are still met.
  3. Subjects with conditions associated with immunodeficiency (e.g., human immunodeficiency virus infection) or conditions requiring either daily systemic corticosteroids exceeding a dose equivalent to10 mg/day of prednisone or other significant immunosuppressant therapy (e.g., organ or stem cell transplantation).
  4. Persons with significant liver or kidney disease [serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase [SGOT], serum glutamine pyruvic transaminase [SGPT], or alkaline phosphatase > 2.5 times the upper limit of normal (ULN), total bilirubin > 1.5 times the ULN, or serum creatinine > 1.5 times the ULN].
  5. Persons with an active seizure disorder. For persons with prior history of seizures, the person should be seizure free for 5 years and not on any anti-seizure medication in order to be enrolled into the study. (Since glutamine is metabolized to glutamate and ammonia, and glutamate is the main excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system (CNS), there is a theoretical increased risk of seizures).
  6. Women who are known to be pregnant (pregnancy category C) or breastfeeding (it is not known whether glutamine is excreted in human milk).
  7. History of allergic reaction to glutamine or glutamic acid or their derivatives (e.g., monosodium glutamate) or to glycine or sucralose.
  8. Subjects cannot take supplemental amino acids (e.g., glutamine, glycine, arginine, other amino acids) or high protein supplements, such as Boost within 30 days of enrollment into the study or during the study (except for study drug amino acid). Subjects can take vitamins.
  9. Persons treated with atypical neuroleptics such as clozapine (Clozaril, FazoCIo) or olanzapine (Zyprexa, Zydis).
  10. Participation in any study involving investigational drugs within 30 days prior to entry into this trial.
  11. Any condition (e.g., schizophrenia, psychosis, major depression, mental deficiency or illness) or major co-morbidity that the study investigator thinks might compromise the person's ability to comply with the requirements of the study.
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00913692

Locations
United States, Maryland
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Sponsors and Collaborators
  More Information

Publications:
Responsible Party: Jeffrey Cohen, Principal Investigator, National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00913692     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 090159, 09-I-0159
Study First Received: June 3, 2009
Results First Received: February 29, 2012
Last Updated: May 3, 2012
Health Authority: United States: Food and Drug Administration

Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):
Glutamine
Herpes Labialis
Herpes Simplex Virus
Cold Sore

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Herpes Labialis
Herpes Simplex
DNA Virus Infections
Herpesviridae Infections
Lip Diseases
Mouth Diseases
Skin Diseases
Skin Diseases, Infectious
Skin Diseases, Viral
Stomatognathic Diseases
Virus Diseases

ClinicalTrials.gov processed this record on October 23, 2014