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Hydroxychloroquine in Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02913157
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : September 23, 2016
Last Update Posted : July 30, 2021
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Dr. Marcus Werner Koch, University of Calgary

Brief Summary:
The purpose of this clinical trial is to determine if HCQ in a dose of 400mg daily can prevent worsening of walking ability in people PPMS. The number of participants in this study will be 35. A maximum of 42 people with PPMS will be included. The trial is funded through a private donation to the Hotchkiss Brain Institute MS Translational Clinical Trials Research Program and the University of Calgary. There is no sponsorship from the pharmaceutical industry.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Multiple Sclerosis, Primary Progressive Drug: Hydroxychloroquine Phase 2

Detailed Description:

In patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) there is ongoing slow and continuous loss of nerve cells, which causes damage to the brain and spinal cord. This ultimately becomes noticeable as slowly and continuously worsening disability. While the cause of this ongoing damage is unknown, it appears that at least part of the damage may be caused by cells in the brain called "microglia" (a type of immune cell that reside in the brain and spinal cord). These microglial cells can have beneficial roles, for instance when they clear away debris, but they can also cause damage to brain cells. In PPMS, microglial cells are often found to be in a state of activation, and it is currently believed that this constant activation of microglial cells is likely an important cause of the ongoing damage to brain cells.

Current treatments for MS only work in relapsing-remitting MS, and can prevent relapses, but so far there are no treatments that effectively target PPMS. Therapies for PPMS are needed. The investigators believe that treatments that target and reduce the activation of microglial cells may be a useful treatment strategy.

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is a medication that has been shown to decrease the activity of human microglia in laboratory experiments. Animal experiments have also shown that treatment with HCQ can reduce the disease activity of an animal model of MS. HCQ, therefore, may also reduce the activity of microglia in people with PPMS, and hopefully prevent or slow down the progression of disability in PPMS.

HCQ is currently approved in Canada to treat malaria and the rheumatic diseases Systemic Lupus Erythematodes (SLE) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). HCQ is available as a tablet that is usually taken two times per day. Doses up to 600mg per are used in clinical practice, but the investigators estimate that a dose of only 400mg daily, given as two doses of 200mg, will be sufficient to decrease the activity of microglia in patients with PPMS. HCQ is usually well tolerated.

Following a MinMax Simon-2-stage design, the study will require 35 patients with complete 18 month follow-up. Presuming 20% drop-out, the investigators anticipate recruiting up to 42 patients. The trial will be conducted as follows: patients will continuously enter into the study until 35 patients have completed 18 months of follow-up with at least 75% adherence which will be measured by study drug count.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 35 participants
Allocation: N/A
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Open-label, Single-center, Single-arm Futility Trial Evaluating Oral Hydroxychloroquine 200mg BID for Reducing Progression of Disability in Patients With Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS)
Actual Study Start Date : November 2016
Actual Primary Completion Date : June 2021
Actual Study Completion Date : June 2021

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Hydroxychloroquine
Oral Hydroxychloroquine, 200mg BID
Drug: Hydroxychloroquine
Orally administered Hydroxychloroquine
Other Name: Plaquenil

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Timed 25-Foot Walk (T25FW) [ Time Frame: Change in Timed 25-Foot Walk performance between the 6 month and 18 month visit. ]
    quantitative ambulation performance test

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. 9-Hole Peg Test [ Time Frame: baseline, 1 month follow-up, 6 months follow-up, 12 months follow-up, and 18 months follow-up ]
    Brief, standardized, quantitative test of upper extremity

  2. Symbol Digit Modalities Test [ Time Frame: baseline, 1 month follow-up, 6 months follow-up, 12 months follow-up, and 18 months follow-up ]
    measures cognitive processing speed and working memory

  3. Functional Systems and Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) [ Time Frame: baseline, 1 month follow-up, 6 months follow-up, 12 months follow-up, and 18 months follow-up ]
    standard measure of neurologic impairment that is used to describe disability in MS. The neurological assessment comprises seven functional system

  4. Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS) [ Time Frame: baseline, 1 month follow-up, 6 months follow-up, 12 months follow-up, and 18 months follow-up ]
    structured, self-report questionnaire with 21 items concerning how fatigue impact patients quality of life

  5. Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life Scale 54 item version [ Time Frame: baseline, 1 month follow-up, 6 months follow-up, 12 months follow-up, and 18 months follow-up ]
    54-item multidimensional health-related quality of life measure that combines both generic and MS-specific items

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Written informed consent obtained
  • Men and women aged of 18 and 65 years inclusive
  • Who are followed at the Calgary MS Clinic
  • With Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, according to current diagnostic criteria
  • Screening Expanded Disability Status Scale score between 4.0 and 6.5 inclusive.
  • Screening timed 25 foot walk (average of two trials) of 5.5 seconds or more.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Patients undergoing treatment with antimalarial drugs, amiodarone, dapsone or digoxin
  • Patients with known retinopathy
  • Patients whose screening ophthalmological exam shows retinopathy
  • Patients whose screening MRI scan shows gadolinium enhancing lesions
  • Patients with known renal insufficiency
  • Patients with known significant hepatic impairment
  • Patients with known porphyria
  • Patients with known allergy or other intolerability to HCQ, or to gadolinium MRI contrast agent
  • Patients currently using Fampridine or 4-aminopyridine
  • Patients planning to start Fampridine or 4-aminopyridine during the study period
  • Patients planning to start Baclofen or Tizanidine during the duration of the study
  • Patients who increase the dose of Baclofen or Tizanidine during the study period
  • Patients who receive treatment with Botulinum toxin in the leg muscles during the study period
  • Patients using amiodarone, dapsone, digoxin or antimalarial drugs other than HCQ
  • Patients who are unable or unwilling to undergo gadolinium enhanced MRI scans
  • Pregnant or breast-feeding women

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): NCT02913157

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Canada, Alberta
MS Clinic Foothills Medical Centre
Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2N2T9
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Calgary
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Principal Investigator: Marcus Koch University of Calgary
Publications automatically indexed to this study by ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier (NCT Number):
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Responsible Party: Dr. Marcus Werner Koch, Assistant Professor, University of Calgary, University of Calgary
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02913157    
Other Study ID Numbers: HCQ_MS01
First Posted: September 23, 2016    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: July 30, 2021
Last Verified: July 2021
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: Yes
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive
Pathologic Processes
Demyelinating Autoimmune Diseases, CNS
Autoimmune Diseases of the Nervous System
Nervous System Diseases
Demyelinating Diseases
Autoimmune Diseases
Immune System Diseases
Antiprotozoal Agents
Antiparasitic Agents
Anti-Infective Agents
Enzyme Inhibitors
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Antirheumatic Agents