Last updated on April 2013

Glutamatergic Dysfunction in Cognitive Aging: Riluzole in Mild Alzheimer’s Disease

Brief description of study

Glutamatergic Dysfunction in Cognitive Aging: Riluzole in Mild Alzheimer’s Disease

Detailed Study Description

Alzheimer's disease is the most common neurodegenerative disorder and its prevalence steeply increases. The small number of effective treatments for Alzheimer's disease highlights a need for further research into novel therapeutic possibilities. Glutamate-mediated excitotoxicity in neuropsychiatric disorders and in particular in Alzheimer's disease has been shown to cause significant cerebral damage. Early effective therapeutic intervention in Alzheimer's disease is critical in order to prevent or at least slow disease progression that leads to widespread irreversible neuronal loss and significant cognitive dysfunction.

Riluzole, a glutamate modulator agent that is a proven safe and effective medication in another neurodegenerative disorder, will be tested in mild Alzheimer's disease patients. Cognitive functional changes will be measured using both Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) and Fluorodeoxyglucose (18F) positron emission tomography (FDG-PET).

The study involves:

  • Taking the study drug or placebo for 6 months**
  • Blood work
  • MRIs
  • PET scans

**All participants will continue to take Aricept during the study

Patient Inclusion Criteria:

  • Age 60 - 85
  • Diagnosed with mild Alzheimer’s disease
  • Must be on donepezil (Aricept®) at a consistent dose of 5mg or 10mg per day for at least 3 months
  • Must be fluent in English
  • Must be a non-smoker

Patient Exclusion Criteria:

  • Previous riluzole treatment
  • History of brain disease including: Parkinson's Disease, sever brain trauma, seizures, stroke, or brain tumor
  • MRI contra-indication (severe claustrophobia, metal implants, shunts, pacemaker, joint implants, metal valves)
  • Currently taking medications that have evidence of glutamatergic activity

Clinical Study Identifier: TX136865

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Tyler Rainer

The Rockefeller University Hospital
New York, NY USA
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