Latrepirdine Not Effective in Huntington's Disease

Six months of treatment does not improve cognition in patients with mild-to-moderate disease

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Although safe and well tolerated, the experimental small molecule latrepirdine does not improve cognition after six months of treatment in patients with mild-to-moderate Huntington's disease (HD), according to a study published online Oct. 29 in the Archives of Neurology.

Karl Kieburtz, M.D., M.P.H., and colleagues from the HORIZON Investigators of the Huntington Disease Study Group and the European Huntington's Disease Network, conducted a six-month, randomized, double-blind study of latrepirdine, 20 mg three times daily, versus placebo in 403 patients with mild-to-moderate HD, across 64 research centers in Australia, Europe, and North America. The effect of latrepirdine on cognition and global function was assessed.

The researchers observed no significant difference between latrepirdine-treated patients and placebo-treated patients in the mean change in the Mini-Mental State Examination score (1.5- and 1.3-point improvement, respectively). There was also no significant difference in the distribution of the Clinician Interview-Based Impression of Change, plus carer interview between the groups (P = 0.84). There were no significant differences on secondary efficacy outcomes measures of behavior, daily function, motor function, and safety. There was a similar incidence of adverse events for latrepirdine- and placebo-treated patients.

"In patients with mild-to-moderate HD and cognitive impairment, treatment with latrepirdine for six months was safe and well tolerated but did not improve cognition or global function relative to placebo," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Medivation and Pfizer, both of which supported the study and manufacture latrepirdine.

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