Clinical question:Is there any difference between oral and intravenous methylprednisolone for multiple sclerosis relapses?
Background: When relapses of multiple sclerosis occur, studies have shown that intravenous steroids are the treatment of choice. Prior Cochrane meta-analyses have not found any significant difference between intravenous and oral treatments; however, the studies all have had limitations. This study was designed to provide a statistically significant answer.
Study design: Randomized, double-blinded, noninferiority trial.
Setting: Thirteen multiple sclerosis centers in France.
Synopsis: Patients were selected if they had had a relapse within the previous 15 days; the mean time was seven days. One hundred patients were in the oral steroid group, and 99 were in the intravenous steroid group. Each group received 1 g of methylprednisolone daily for three days. In addition, each group received saline infusions or placebo capsules to keep the study blind.
After 28 days, 81% of the oral group and 80% of the intravenous group had improvements of their symptoms. Side effects from the medications were similar as well.
The study was limited by the fixed dosing (1 g daily) that was not bioequivalent. Also, MRIs, although not always used in relapses, could have added more objective information, as everyone was followed clinically using the Kurtzke Functional System Scale.
Bottom line: Consider using oral instead of IV steroids in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis.
ObjectiveTo assess the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of dextromethorphan hydrobromide–quinidine sulfate for Alzheimer disease–related agitation.
Design, Setting, and ParticipantsPhase 2 randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial using a sequential parallel comparison design with 2 consecutive 5-week treatment stages conducted August 2012–August 2014. Patients with probable Alzheimer disease, clinically significant agitation (Clinical Global Impressions–Severity agitation score ≥4), and a Mini-Mental State Examination score of 8 to 28 participated at 42 US study sites. Stable dosages of antidepressants, antipsychotics, hypnotics, and antidementia medications were allowed.
InterventionsIn stage 1, 220 patients were randomized in a 3:4 ratio to receive dextromethorphan-quinidine (n = 93) or placebo (n = 127). In stage 2, patients receiving dextromethorphan-quinidine continued; those receiving placebo were stratified by response and rerandomized in a 1:1 ratio to dextromethorphan-quinidine (n = 59) or placebo (n = 60).
Main Outcomes and MeasuresThe primary end point was change from baseline on the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) Agitation/Aggression domain (scale range, 0 [absence of symptoms] to 12 [symptoms occur daily and with marked severity]).
ResultsA total of 194 patients (88.2%) completed the study. With the sequential parallel comparison design, 152 patients received dextromethorphan-quinidine and 127 received placebo during the study. Analysis combining stages 1 (all patients) and 2 (rerandomized placebo nonresponders) showed significantly reduced NPI Agitation/Aggression scores for dextromethorphan-quinidine vs placebo (ordinary least squares z statistic, −3.95; P < .001). In stage 1, mean NPI Agitation/Aggression scores were reduced from 7.1 to 3.8 with dextromethorphan-quinidine and from 7.0 to 5.3 with placebo. Between-group treatment differences were significant in stage 1 (least squares mean, −1.5; 95% CI, −2.3 to −0.7; P<.001). In stage 2, NPI Agitation/Aggression scores were reduced from 5.8 to 3.8 with dextromethorphan-quinidine and from 6.7 to 5.8 with placebo. Between-group treatment differences were also significant in stage 2 (least squares mean, −1.6; 95% CI, −2.9 to −0.3; P=.02). Adverse events included falls (8.6% for dextromethorphan-quinidine vs 3.9% for placebo), diarrhea (5.9% vs 3.1% respectively), and urinary tract infection (5.3% vs 3.9% respectively). Serious adverse events occurred in 7.9% with dextromethorphan-quinidine vs 4.7% with placebo. Dextromethorphan-quinidine was not associated with cognitive impairment, sedation, or clinically significant QTc prolongation.
Conclusions and RelevanceIn this preliminary 10-week phase 2 randomized clinical trial of patients with probable Alzheimer disease, combination dextromethorphan-quinidine demonstrated clinically relevant efficacy for agitation and was generally well tolerated.