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Effect of Riluzole as a Symptomatic Approach in Patients With Chronic Cerebellar Ataxia

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00202397
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : September 20, 2005
Last Update Posted : February 11, 2014
Information provided by:
S. Andrea Hospital

Brief Summary:

Cerebellar disorders are often disabling and symptomatic therapies are limited to few options that are partially effective. It seems therefore appropriate to search for additional approaches.

Purkinje cells are the sole output of the cerebellar cortex: they project inhibitory signals to the deep cerebellar nuclei (DCN), which have a critical role in cerebellar function and motor performance. DCN neurons fire spontaneously in the absence of synaptic input from Purkinje neurons and modulation of the DCN response by Purkinje input is believed to be responsible for coordination of movement. Recent evidences support the notion that an increase in DCN excitability may be an important step in the development of cerebellar ataxia and point to the underlying molecular mechanisms: the inhibition of small-conductance calcium-activated potassium (SK) channels, that causes an increase of the firing frequency in DCN, correlates with cerebellar ataxia.

The rationale of the present project is that SK channel openers, such as riluzole, may have a beneficial effect on cerebellar ataxia.

The researchers propose to perform a pilot study investigating safety and efficacy of riluzole, an approved treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, as a symptomatic approach in patients with chronic cerebellar ataxia.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Hereditary Ataxia Multiple Sclerosis Cerebellar Ataxia Drug: Riluzole Other: placebo Phase 2

Detailed Description:

Forty patients with chronic cerebellar ataxia will be enrolled in a double-bind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.

By central randomisation, patients will take 50 mg of riluzole or placebo twice daily for 8 weeks.

Electrocardiogram routine laboratory tests and pregnancy tests will be performed before drug administration, after 4 weeks of treatment and at the end of the study (after 8 weeks of treatment).

At the same time points the International Cooperative Ataxia Rating Scale (ICARS) for pharmacological assessment of the cerebellar syndrome will be administered to the two groups (riluzole and placebo) of patients. To guarantee the evaluation of the results in blind conditions, the neurologists who will evaluate the ICARS scores will be different from those who will deal with randomisation and follow-up of patients.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 40 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Triple (Participant, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Phase 2 Study of Riluzole Effects on Patients With Chronic Cerebellar Ataxia
Study Start Date : June 2005
Actual Primary Completion Date : June 2008
Actual Study Completion Date : August 2008

Arm Intervention/treatment
Placebo Comparator: 2
placebo bid for 8 weeks
Other: placebo
capsule-shaped tablet bid for 8 weeks

Experimental: 1
Riluzole, capsule-shaped 50 mg tablets bid for 8 weeks
Drug: Riluzole
capsule-shaped 50 mg tablets bid for 8 weeks
Other Name: Rilutek ATC Code N07X X02

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. The International Cooperative Ataxia Rating Scale (ICARS) total scores and subscores (oculomotor, kinetic, postural, speech), comparing the three time points in the treated versus placebo group [ Time Frame: pre-treatment, after 4 weeks of treatment and at the end of the study ]

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 80 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Patients with cerebellar degeneration (heredoataxias, sporadic idiopathic ataxia, multiple system atrophy type C)
  • Patients who meet McDonald criteria for probable or definite multiple sclerosis (MS) with chronic cerebellar ataxia (not acute cerebellar ataxia due to relapse)
  • Age between 18 and 80 years

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Ataxia due to other diseases
  • Acute cerebellar ataxia
  • Use of other drugs for chronic ataxia
  • Serious concomitant illnesses (cardiac arrhythmias, haematological and hepatic diseases)
  • Pregnancy or breast feeding

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT00202397

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S.Andrea Hospital - University of Rome "La Sapienza"
Rome, Italy, 00100
Sponsors and Collaborators
S. Andrea Hospital
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Study Director: Marco Salvetti, Assoc. Prof S.Andrea Hospital, University of Rome "La Sapienza"
Principal Investigator: Giovanni Ristori, MD University of Roma La Sapienza
Additional Information:
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Responsible Party: Giovanni Ristori, S.Andrea Hospital - II Faculty of Medicine, "Sapienza" University of Rome
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00202397    
Other Study ID Numbers: NEU - RLZ - 05
First Posted: September 20, 2005    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: February 11, 2014
Last Verified: December 2013
Keywords provided by S. Andrea Hospital:
cerebellar ataxia
deep cerebellar nuclei (DCN)
small-conductance calcium-activated potassium(SK)channels
Sporadic ataxia
Multiple system atrophy type C
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Multiple Sclerosis
Cerebellar Ataxia
Spinocerebellar Degenerations
Demyelinating Autoimmune Diseases, CNS
Autoimmune Diseases of the Nervous System
Nervous System Diseases
Demyelinating Diseases
Autoimmune Diseases
Immune System Diseases
Neurologic Manifestations
Cerebellar Diseases
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Spinal Cord Diseases
Heredodegenerative Disorders, Nervous System
Neurodegenerative Diseases
Genetic Diseases, Inborn
Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
Excitatory Amino Acid Agents
Neurotransmitter Agents
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Neuroprotective Agents
Protective Agents