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Attenuation of Corticosteroid Induced Hippocampal Changes

This study is ongoing, but not recruiting participants.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Identifier:
First received: July 31, 2012
Last updated: March 8, 2017
Last verified: March 2017
The purpose of the study is to determine if an investigational drug called memantine,used here as add-on therapy, is associated with improvements in memory, mood and asthma symptoms. We will also examine changes in the brain by taking images or pictures using an MRI/MRS.

Condition Intervention Phase
Organic Memory Impairment
Drug: Memantine
Drug: Placebo
Phase 4

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Participant, Care Provider, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Attenuation of Corticosteroid Induced Hippocampal Changes

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised (HVLT-R) [ Time Frame: 52 weeks ]
    The Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised (HVLT-R) consists of 12 nouns read aloud for three consecutive trials with each trial followed by a free-recall trial. Delayed recall and recognition of the wordlist is tested following a 20- to 25-minute delay. Six comparable alternate forms, given in a set order, will be used to minimize practice effects. The proposed study will examine total words learned over 3 trials and delayed recall.

Estimated Enrollment: 50
Study Start Date: January 2012
Estimated Study Completion Date: June 2017
Primary Completion Date: January 2017 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Active Comparator: Intervention
This arm will be given memantine intervention at the beginning of the trial. Following the washout period, this arm will be switched to placebo.
Drug: Memantine
Memantine is a noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist used to help treat Alzheimer's disease.
Other Name: Namenda
Placebo Comparator: Placebo
This group will start off on placebo at the beginning of the study. Following the washout period, this arm will be switched to the memantine intervention.
Drug: Placebo
Inactive ingredient matching the active medication in appearance
Other Name: Sugar-pill

Detailed Description:

A total of 50 outpatients receiving chronic oral corticosteroid therapy will be enrolled in a 52-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of memantine. Participant will receive either memantine or a placebo for 24 weeks. They have an equal chance of receiving memantine or placebo. After 24 weeks they will discontinue all study medication for 4 weeks. This process will be repeated one additional time in the study and the participant will crossed-over to either memantine or placebo, whichever the participant did not receive before, so they will have taken both placebo and memantine during one of these courses.

Randomization will be stratified by prednisone dose of < 20 mg/day vs. ≥ 20 mg/day. Memantine or placebo starting at 5 milligrams once a day, increased to 5 milligrams twice a day (10 total) at week 2, 15 milligrams total at week 3, and 20 milligrams total from weeks 4-24 unless side effects require the study doctor to increase the initial doses slower than described above or reduce the dose. This same process will be repeated at week 28 after the participant have been completely off of study medication for 4 weeks. Structural MRI and 1HMRS will be obtained at baseline and weeks 24 and 52 (after memantine and placebo).

The clinician version of the structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID) is a brief structured interview for major Axis I disorders in DSM-IV including major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, bipolar disorders, psychotic disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and alcohol and substance abuse/dependence. This will be given at baseline to screen for illnesses with CNS involvement or cognitive impairment. Blood draws will be performed at baseline to assess insulin and fasting glucose levels.

Each participant will then return for follow-up appointments as scheduled and repeat outcome measures. Pill counts will be conducted, and a list of current medications and doses will be obtained at each visit. Participants will be compensated and receive bus passes at each appointment, plus a monetary incentive for compliance. Participants will be evaluated by both the RA and PI at each follow-up appointment.

The HVLT-R will be given at baseline, and weeks 12, 24, 28, 40, and 52; this will be the primary outcome measure. Other cognitive assessments will be performed at these same visits as well.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 65 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Diagnosis of any chronic medical condition requiring treatment with oral corticosteroids confirmed by chart review and/or patient assessment by Dr. Khan (co-I).
  • Receiving prednisone therapy of at least 5 mg of prednisone/day for at least 6 months with anticipated treatment for ≥ 12 additional months.
  • Age 18-65 years.
  • Baseline CVLT-II total T score ≤ 54.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Illnesses associated with CNS involvement (e.g., seizures, brain tumors, head injury with loss of consciousness) or cognitive impairment (e.g., substance dependence within the past 2 years, bipolar disorder) Potential participants with mood symptoms secondary to corticosteroids (based on SCID) will not be excluded because this could selectively exclude subjects who are sensitive to the CNS effects of corticosteroids.
  • Vulnerable populations (e.g. severe cognitive impairment, pregnant or nursing women, prisoners).
  • Severe or life-threatening medical illness that would make completion of study unlikely
  • Contraindications to memantine therapy (e.g. severe side effects in the past)
  • Danger to self or others as defined by > 1 lifetime suicide attempt or assault, any suicide attempt or assault within the past year, and active suicidal or homicidal ideation with plan and intent.
  • Metal implants, claustrophobia, or other contraindications to MRI
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01656187

United States, Texas
Aston Ambulatory Care Center, Allergy and Immunology
Dallas, Texas, United States, 75390-8872
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Principal Investigator: Sherwood Brown, PhD, MD UT Southwestern Medical Center
  More Information

Responsible Party: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Identifier: NCT01656187     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 032011-007
1R01DA029596 ( US NIH Grant/Contract Award Number )
Study First Received: July 31, 2012
Last Updated: March 8, 2017
Individual Participant Data  
Plan to Share IPD: No

Keywords provided by University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center:

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Antiparkinson Agents
Anti-Dyskinesia Agents
Dopamine Agents
Neurotransmitter Agents
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
Excitatory Amino Acid Agents processed this record on April 28, 2017