A novel, efficient, randomized selection trial comparing combinations of drug therapy for ALS.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Multicenter Study)

Combining agents with different mechanisms of action may be necessary for meaningful results in treating ALS. The combinations of minocycline-creatine and celecoxib-creatine have additive effects in the murine model. New trial designs are needed to efficiently screen the growing number of potential neuroprotective agents. Our objective was to assess two drug combinations in ALS using a novel phase II trial design. We conducted a randomized, double-blind selection trial in sequential pools of 60 patients. Participants received minocycline (100 mg)-creatine (10 g) twice daily or celecoxib (400 mg)-creatine (10 g) twice daily for six months. The primary objective was treatment selection based on which combination best slowed deterioration in the ALS Functional Rating Scale-Revised (ALSFRS-R); the trial could be stopped after one pool if the difference between the two arms was adequately large. At trial conclusion, each arm was compared to a historical control group in a futility analysis. Safety measures were also examined. After the first patient pool, the mean six-month decline in ALSFRS-R was 5.27 (SD=5.54) in the celecoxib-creatine group and 6.47 (SD=9.14) in the minocycline-creatine group. The corresponding decline was 5.82 (SD=6.77) in the historical controls. The difference between the two sample means exceeded the stopping criterion. The null hypothesis of superiority was not rejected in the futility analysis. Skin rash occurred more frequently in the celecoxib-creatine group. In conclusion, the celecoxib-creatine combination was selected as preferable to the minocycline-creatine combination for further evaluation. This phase II design was efficient, leading to treatment selection after just 60 patients, and can be used in other phase II trials to assess different agents.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gordon, PH; Cheung, Y-K; Levin, B; Andrews, H; Doorish, C; Macarthur, RB; Montes, J; Bednarz, K; Florence, J; Rowin, J; Boylan, K; Mozaffar, T; Tandan, R; Mitsumoto, H; Kelvin, EA; Chapin, J; Bedlack, R; Rivner, M; McCluskey, LF; Pestronk, A; Graves, M; Sorenson, EJ; Barohn, RJ; Belsh, JM; Lou, J-S; Levine, T; Saperstein, D; Miller, RG; Scelsa, SN; Combination Drug Selection Trial Study Group,

Published Date

  • August 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 9 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 212 - 222

PubMed ID

  • 18608093

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4354803

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1471-180X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/17482960802195632


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England