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Lipoic acid reduces the rate of brain atrophy in SPMS patients (03/07/17)

In a study that set out to determine whether lipoic acid slowed the whole-brain atrophy rate in people with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS), scientists discovered a 68% reduction in annualised percent change brain volume (PCBV). This suggests a clinical benefit in SPMS, while maintaining favourable safety, tolerability, and compliance over a two year period. 

Lipoic acid (LA) is an endogenously produced antioxidant and scientists wanted to know if it was safe in SPMS patients.

Patients with SPMS, aged 40-70 years enrolled in a single centre, two-year, double-blind, randomised trial. Each received 1,200 mg of LA, orally every day vs a placebo.

The study consisted of 27 patients receiving LA and 24 receiving the placebo. They had a mean age of 58.5 years, of which 61% were women with a mean disease duration of 29.6 (SD 9.5) years, and median Expanded Disability Status Score of 6.0.

After two years, the annualised PCBV was significantly less in the LA arm compared with placebo. Their improved timed 25-Foot Walk was almost, but not significantly better in the LA than in the control group. LA patients experienced fewer falls, but significantly more gastrointestinal upset. The LA cohort also experienced unexpected renal failure and glomerulonephritis did occur. Compliance, measured by pill counts, was 87%.

This study was published in the journal, Neurology, an official journal of the American Academy of Neurology. 

Source: MS-UK (03/07/17)

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