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Safety, Tolerability, and Bioeffects of Alirocumab in Non-treatment Seeking Heavy Drinkers

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Know the risks and potential benefits of clinical studies and talk to your health care provider before participating. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT04781322
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : March 4, 2021
Last Update Posted : May 20, 2022
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) )

Brief Summary:


Drinking alcohol can lead to swelling and injury in the liver. Long-term heavy drinking may lead to liver disease. Researchers want to study the relationship between a drug called alirocumab, alcohol use, and liver functioning/swelling.


To study the effects of alirocumab in people who drink alcohol.


Healthy adults ages 21 to 65 who regularly consume 20 or more drinks per week.


Participants will be screened under protocol 14-AA-0181.

Participants will get alirocumab or a placebo as an injection under the skin.

Participants will give blood and urine samples. They will have physical exams.

Participants will have FibroScans . It measures liver and spleen stiffness. Participants will lie on a table. They will expose the lower right and left side of their chest. The machine will send a small vibration to the liver.

Participants may have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the liver. The MRI scanner is shaped like a cylinder. Participants will lie on a table that slides in and out of the scanner. A device called a coil will be placed over their liver.

Participants will have a Doppler scan and ultrasound. These tests measure blood flow in the body.

Participants will have an electrocardiogram. It measures heart function.

Participants will fill out surveys about how they are feeling, their alcohol consumption, and other behaviors. They will complete cognitive tasks on a computer.

Participants will meet with a clinician. They will discuss the participant s assessment results, patterns of drinking, and possibly stopping or cutting down on drinking.

Participation will last for 8 weeks. Participants will have 9 study visits.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Alcohol Associated Liver Disease Heavy Drinking Behavior Drug: Alirocumab Other: Placebo Phase 1

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 30 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double (Participant, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Basic Science
Official Title: A Phase I, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Study of Safety, Tolerability, and Bioeffects of Alirocumab in Non-treatment Seeking Heavy Drinkers
Actual Study Start Date : October 19, 2021
Estimated Primary Completion Date : December 31, 2023
Estimated Study Completion Date : December 31, 2023

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Drug Information available for: Alirocumab

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Intervention
Heavy drinking healthy volunteers
Drug: Alirocumab
Alirocumab is a human monoclonal antibody (IgG1) that binds to and inhibits PCSK9 and was approved by the FDA in July of 2015. PCSK9 binds to and promotes degradation of low-density lipoprotein receptors (LDLR) on hepatocyte membranes.

Placebo Comparator: Placebo
Heavy drinking healthy volunteers
Other: Placebo
Heavy drinking healthy volunteers

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. The primary objective is to assess the safety and tolerability of alirocumab in subjects who are heavy drinkers. [ Time Frame: 8 weeks ]
    The primary endpoint in the study is to assess the incidence and severity of treatment-emergent adverse events in non-treatment seeking heavy drinkers treated with alirocumab or placebo.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Secondary/exploratory objectives are to assess various biomarkers related to alcohol-induced liver damage and inflammation. [ Time Frame: ongoing ]
    These biomarkers will assess various biological processed in AUD, such as inflammation, liver biology and clinical alcohol-related outcomes.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   21 Years to 65 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

    1. Male or female between the age of 21 and 65 years.
    2. Ability to provide written informed consent.
    3. Females: Negative urine pregnancy test, not currently breastfeeding, agree to abstain or use accepted form of contraception including use of oral contraceptives; use of barrier method of contraceptive, such as condoms; use of an approved IUD or other long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC); have a male sexual partner who is surgically sterilized; or have exclusively female sexual partner(s).

      Males: Agree to abstain or use accepted form of contraception, such as condoms.

    4. Current chronic alcohol use, non-treatment seeking heavy drinker (>20 standard drinks per week for at least 12 weeks).
    5. Alanine aminotransferase and/or aspartate aminotransferase and/or gamma-glutamyl transferase exceeding the upper normal limit of normal limits at the screen visit.


  1. Treatment seeking for alcohol use disorder.
  2. History of a serious hypersensitivity reaction to PCSK9 inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies, or any component of the drug product.
  3. Chronic use of statins within eight weeks of the study to treat hypercholesteremia, or fibrates, with the exception of fenofibrates, within six weeks of the study.
  4. Current/past use of PCSK9 inhibitors.
  5. Cardiovascular incidents over the past 12 months.
  6. Current or prior history of any clinically significant disease, including, fibromyalgia, severe neuropathic pain, seizure disorder, uncontrolled endocrine disease known to influence serum lipids or lipoproteins, hemorrhagic stroke, cancer within the past 5 years (except for adequately treated basal skin cancer, squamous cell skin cancer, or in situ cervical cancer), uncontrolled (defined as Hgb A1c >8%) or newly diagnosed (within 3 months prior to screening) diabetes, or any other significant abnormality identified at the time of screening that, in the judgment of the investigator or study clinician, would preclude safe completion of the study.
  7. Positive HIV test or positive Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), and/or positive Hepatitis C antibody (HCV) at the screening visit.
  8. Alanine aminotransferase or aspartate aminotransferase exceeding 5 times the upper limit of normal levels will be excluded. Bilirubin 2x UNL or Creatinine > 1.5 mg/dl, or glomerular filtration rate (GFR) <30ml/min) will be excluded.
  9. Triglycerides > 400mg/dL (>4.52 mmol/L).
  10. Chronic renal failure as estimated by glomerular filtration rate (GFR) < 60mL/min/1.73 m2.
  11. Any underlying acute or chronic liver disease unrelated to alcohol use.
  12. Patients with coagulopathy defined as INR >1.5, prothrombin time prolonged by > 3s, and/or platelets <75,000 / mm3.
  13. Use of any medications that interfere with blood clotting.
  14. Patients with significant hematologic abnormalities.
  15. Significant obesity (Obesity Class II-III) defined as BMI >35.
  16. History of previous bariatric surgery or transplant surgery.
  17. History of plasmapheresis treatment within 2 months prior to screening or plans to undergo plasmapheresis during the study.
  18. Use of the following medications: Any medication that requires intramuscular administration injections. Systemic corticosteroids, unless used as replacement therapy for pituitary/adrenal disease with a stable regimen for at least 6 weeks prior to screening. Estrogen or testosterone therapy, unless regimen stable for 6 weeks prior to screening visit.
  19. Use of any investigational drugs within 1 month, or five half-lives, whichever is longer, of the study procedures.
  20. Plan to use red yeast rice during the study.
  21. Presence of any current or past DSM-5 diagnosis of bipolar disorder or psychotic disorder (e.g. schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorders) or current suicidality.
  22. History of epilepsy or alcohol-related seizures.
  23. Any other severe condition, which in the opinion of the investigators would impede the patient s participation or compliance in the study, such as psychosis, delirium or acute change of mental status.

For optional MRI: a) Presence of ferromagnetic objects in the body, that may be aversively affected by or contraindicated for MRI, fear of enclosed spaces, or other standard contraindication to MRI, as determined by self-report b) Use of MRI-incompatible intrauterine device (IUD).

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 identifier (NCT number): NCT04781322

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Contact: Sumedha Chawla (301) 435-9397
Contact: Falk W Lohoff, M.D. (301) 827-1542

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United States, Maryland
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center Recruiting
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Contact: For more information at the NIH Clinical Center contact Office of Patient Recruitment (OPR)    800-411-1222 ext TTY8664111010   
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
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Principal Investigator: Falk W Lohoff, M.D. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Additional Information:
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Responsible Party: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Identifier: NCT04781322    
Other Study ID Numbers: 10000036
First Posted: March 4, 2021    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: May 20, 2022
Last Verified: April 5, 2022

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: Yes
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: Yes
Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) ):
Fatty Liver
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Liver Diseases
Alcoholic Intoxication
Drinking Behavior
Digestive System Diseases
Alcohol-Related Disorders
Substance-Related Disorders
Chemically-Induced Disorders
Mental Disorders