The Northeast Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Consortium (NEALS) is actively seeking participants for a phase 2 clinical trial that will evaluate the safety and tolerability of mexiletine in people with the sporadic form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Approximately 90 to 95 percent of ALS is sporadic, in which there is no known family history of the disease.
Mexiletine is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of heart rhythm abnormalities (arrhythmias). It also has been used to treat nerve damage related to diabetes (diabetic neuropathy) and prolonged muscle contraction (myotonia) associated with neuromuscular disorders. It blocks sodium channels, which are cellular pores through which sodium flows.
According to the study summary on the NEALS website, studies have shown that mexiletine prolongs survival in animal models of ALS.
Although mexiletine is available by prescription, its effects in ALS are unknown. MDA advises individuals not to use mexiletine to treat ALS until its safety and efficacy have been proven in clinical trials. (Anti-arrhythmic drugs similar to mexiletine have been reported to increase the risk of death or heart attack, and mexiletine may increase the chance of having irregular heartbeats.)
Study investigators expect to enroll approximately 60 people with sporadic ALS for the 12-week study, which will be conducted at 10 trial sites in the United States. Michael Weiss, who is at the University of Washington Medical Center and co-director of the MDA/ALS center at that institution, is the principal investigator for the trial. MDA is not funding this trial.
Participants will be randomly assigned to one of three groups. One group will receive a low dose of mexiletine; the second will receive a higher dose; and the third will receive a placebo.
For more information about the study, see A Safety and Tolerability Study of Mexiletine in Patients with Sporadic Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (SALS) (MX-ALS-001) or enter NCT01849770 in the search box at ClinicalTrials.gov.
Prospective participants must:
To participate in the study, contact the site near you, or contact Angela S. Knox at the Massachusetts General Hospital Coordination Center: (617) 724-3314 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Study Sites — Contact Information
|University of California
Neuromuscular Research Center
Contact: Rebecca Alvarez at (310) 825-5232, or email@example.com
University of Iowa
University of Kansas Medical Center
Massachusetts General Hospital
University of Massachusetts, Worcester
|Washington University Medical School
St. Louis, Mo.
Contact: Charlie Wulf at (314) 362-6980, or firstname.lastname@example.org
SUNY Upstate Medical Center
Penn State Hershey Medical Center
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
University of Washington Medical Center
About Clinical Trials
A clinical trial is a test, in humans, of an experimental treatment. Although it's possible that benefit may be derived from participating in a clinical trial, it's also possible that no benefit, or even harm, may occur.