Ana Pereira, MD: Pilot Study of Riluzole in Alzheimer Disease

October 16, 2020

The assistant professor of neurology and neuroscience at Mount Sinai Medical Center detailed the findings of a recent pilot trial of riluzole in Alzheimer disease she and colleagues conducted.

“Our FDG-PET measures also correlated very well with cognitive measures including the ADAS-cog…as well as the MMSE.”

Even with the excitement around the possible first approval in Alzheimer disease slated for early 2021 with aducanumab, those physicians working in this specialty, the pending action at the FDA is still lit with the backdrop of the hundreds of failed drugs that have left the treatment paradigm rather slim.

These failures have led some to look to repurpose already proven agents to explore their potential in making an impact on the disease’s progression. One such effort, led by Ana Pereira, MD, assistant professor of neurology and neuroscience, Mount Sinai Medical Center, was recently presented at the virtual Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation International Conference. This pilot clinical trial featured the therapy riluzole, which has long been used in the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

This study evaluated riluzole in patients with Alzheimer disease, and it met the primary end point, with fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-positron emission tomography (PET) measures showing significantly less decline in areas of interest in the brain. Additionally, the second outcome measure showed a strong correlation between cognitive measures and FDG-PET brain metabolism with riluzole treatment.

To find out more about the study and its findings, NeurologyLive spoke with Pereria in an interview. She offered some details on the overall findings of the study, which support a larger, phase 3 assessment, and gave her perspective on some of the more interesting aspects of the data.