Tramiprosate in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease - a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-centre study (the Alphase Study)

PS Aisen, S Gauthier, SH Ferris, D Saumier, D Haine, D Garceau, A Duong, J Suhy, J Oh, WC Lau, J Sampalis

Introduction: The aim of the study was to assess the clinical efficacy, safety, and disease-modification effects of tramiprosate (homotaurine, ALZHEMED™) in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Material and methods: Double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial in 67 clinical centres across North America. Patients aged >= 50 years, with mild-to-moderate AD (Mini-Mental State Examination score between 16 and 26) and on stable doses of cholinesterase inhibitors, alone or with memantine. Intervention: 78-week treatment with placebo, tramiprosate 100 mg or tramiprosate 150 mg BID. Measurements: Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale – cognitive subscale (ADAS-cog) and Clinical Dementia Rating – Sum of Boxes (CDR-SB) assessments were performed at baseline and every 13 weeks. Baseline and 78-week magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) hippocampus volume (HV) measurements were conducted in a subgroup of patients. Results: A total of 1,052 patients were enrolled and 790 (75.1%) completed the 78-week trial. Patient discontinuation and reasons for withdrawal were similar across groups. Planned analyses did not reveal statistically significant between-group differences. Lack of adequate statistical validity of the planned analysis models led to the development of revised predictive models. These adjusted models showed a trend toward a treatment effect for ADAS-cog (P = 0.098) and indicated significantly less HV loss for tramiprosate 100 mg (P = 0.035) and 150 mg (P = 0.009) compared to placebo. The incidence of adverse events was similar across treatment groups. Conclusions: The primary planned analyses did not show a significant treatment effect, but were confounded by unexplained variance. Post-hoc analyses showed a significant treatment-related reduction in HV loss. However, there was only a trend towards slowing of decline on the ADAS-cog and no slowing of decline on the CDR-SB. These results must be interpreted in consideration of the limitations of clinical and disease-modification outcome measures and their relationship, the heterogeneity of the disease and the impact of confounding demographic and clinical variables.

In Archives of Medical Science