Mexiletine for symptoms and signs of myotonia in nondystrophic myotonia: A randomized controlled trial


Journal Article

Context: Nondystrophic myotonias (NDMs) are rare diseases caused by mutations in skeletal muscle ion channels. Patients experience delayed muscle relaxation causing functionally limiting stiffness and pain. Mexiletine-induced sodium channel blockade reduced myotonia in small studies; however, as is common in rare diseases, larger studies of safety and efficacy have not previously been considered feasible. Objective: To determine the effects of mexiletine for symptoms and signs of myotonia in patients with NDMs. Design, Setting, and Participants: A randomized, double-blind, placebocontrolled 2-period crossover study at 7 neuromuscular referral centers in 4 countries of 59 patients with NDMs conducted between December 23, 2008, and March 30, 2011, as part of the National Institutes of Health - funded Rare Disease Clinical Research Network. Intervention: Oral 200-mg mexiletine or placebo capsules 3 times daily for 4 weeks, followed by the opposite intervention for 4 weeks, with 1-week washout in between. Main Outcome Measures Patient-reported severity score of stiffness recorded on an interactive voice response (IVR) diary (scale of 1=minimal to 9=worst ever experienced). Secondary end points included IVR-reported changes in pain, weakness, and tiredness; clinical myotonia assessment; quantitative measure of handgrip myotonia; and Individualized Neuromuscular Quality of Life summary quality of life score (INQOL - QOL, percentage of maximal detrimental impact). Results: Mexiletine significantly improved patient-reported severity score stiffness on the IVR diary. Because of a statistically significant interaction between treatment and period for this outcome, primary end point is presented by period (period 1 means were 2.53 for mexiletine and 4.21 for placebo; difference, -1.68; 95% CI, -2.66 to -0.706; P<.001; period 2 means were 1.60 for mexiletine and 5.27 for placebo; difference, -3.68;95% CI, -3.85 to -0.139; P=.04). Mexiletine improved the INQOL - QOL score (mexiletine, 14.0 vs placebo, 16.7; difference, -2.69; 95% CI, -4.07 to -1.30; P<.001) and decreased handgrip myotonia on clinical examination (mexiletine, 0.164 seconds vs placebo, 0.494 seconds; difference, -0.330; 95% CI, -0.633 to -0.142; P<.001). The most common adverse effect was gastrointestinal (9 mexiletine and 1 placebo). Two participants experienced transient cardiac effects that did not require stopping the study (1 in each group). One serious adverse event was determined to be not study related. Conclusion: In this preliminary study of patients with NDMs, the use of mexiletine compared with placebo resulted in improved patient-reported stiffness over 4 weeks of treatment, despite some concern about the maintenance of blinding. Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT00832000 ©2012 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Statland, JM; Bundy, BN; Wang, Y; Rayan, DR; Trivedi, JR; Sansone, VA; Salajegheh, MK; Venance, SL; Ciafaloni, E; Matthews, E; Meola, G; Herbelin, L; Griggs, RC; Barohn, RJ; Hanna, MG; Dimachkie, M; Miller, J; Pimental, R; Gorham, N; McLin, R; Gonzales, V; Amato, AA; Roe, K; Chused, S; Kayd, E; Hahn, A; Koopman, W; Verheyden, J; Ten Haaf, A; Piechowicz, C; Twydell, P; Aronson, K; Hart, K; Smith, P; Herr, B; Eichinger, K; Pandya, S; Bean, S; Puwanant, A; Ke, Q; Scheltz, J; Whitesell, L; Barreto, G; Tan, V; Burge, J; Dewar, E; Lopez-Begum, D; Sud, R; Haworth, A; McCall, S; Zanolini, A; Ciocca, M; Krischer, J; Ruhlig, H; Gomes, J; Richesson, R; Leduc, R; Pilger, J; Day, JW; Leshner, RT; Mackenzie, TA; Wagner, K; Odenkirchen, JC; Stewart, R

Published Date

  • October 3, 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 308 / 13

Start / End Page

  • 1357 - 1365

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1538-3598

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0098-7484

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1001/jama.2012.12607

Citation Source

  • Scopus