Trial drugs for Huntingtons disease inconclusive in slowing disease

A large-scale clinical trial that tested the ability of the investigational drugs remacemide and Coenzyme Q10 to slow the progression of Huntingtons disease showed that neither drug resulted in any significant improvement for the patients. Although after one year of treatment, the disease seemed to progress more slowly in patients treated with Coenzyme Q10, the investigators say that overall the results are inconclusive as to whether there is real benefit from this drug. The study is published in the August 14, 2001, issue of Neurology.*

The Coenzyme Q10 and Remacemide Evaluation in Huntingtons Disease, or CARE-HD trial, was conducted for 30 months by the Huntington Study Group at 23 sites in the United States and Canada. The trial included 347 people in the early stages of the disease. It was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and is the largest study to investigate treatments for Huntingtons disease.

Remacemide is a new investigational drug that blocks a neurotransmitter in the brain (the NMDA glutamate receptor) which has long been suspected of contributing to the death of brain cells in Huntingtons disease. Coenzyme Q10 is a substance that occurs naturally in the body and plays a role in the function of mitochondria, the energy factories of human cells.

It is also an anti-oxidant, meaning that it can neutralize potentially injurious oxygen-containing chemicals called free radicals, which may play a role in the nerve cell death that occurs in Huntingtons disease. Coenzyme Q10 is sold as a nutritional supplement in pharmacies and health food stores.

Participants in the randomized, double-blind CARE-HD study were assigned to one of four treatments: 25% received remacemide, 25% received Coenzyme Q10, 25% received the combination of Coenzyme Q10 and remacemide, and 25% received placebo (no active medication). Each participant was followed with standardized tests for neurological and neuropsyc

Contact: Margo Warren
NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

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