Drug appears to preserve motor function for persons with cervical injuries.
Persons who have cervical injuries are more likely to have higher motor scores when taking riluzole.
A Phase I study of the drug’s safety, pharmacology and exploratory preliminary efficacy conducted by the North American Clinical Trials Network found those who took the drug orally within 12 hours of acute traumatic injury had improved motor scores at 90 days post-injury. Additionally, patients who had some sensation present below the spine had the greatest effect.
Riluzole is approved for treating patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and this is the first trial of this kind.
The Phase I trial included 36 patients with traumatic acute spinal cord injury from C4 to T11. Most patients were male (83 percent) and had a cervical injury (78 percent).
Riluzole was administered orally every 12 hours for 14 days.
“The data suggests that riluzole may be able to preserve motor function in patients with acute cervical injuries, which might make them better able to respond to regenerative and other therapies applied at later stages of recovery,” says Robert Grossman, MD, NACTN’s principal investigator and professor of neurosurgery at Houston Methodist Hospital in a press release.
The study is published online in the peer-review Journal of Neurotrauma.
To read the full study or for more information, visit christopherreeve.org.
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