Navigation Links
Lithium of No Benefit in ALS, Study Finds
Date:8/11/2010

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A new study appears to dash hopes that the psychiatric drug lithium can benefit patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The investigation involving 171 people with ALS was stopped early, in November 2009, because of high dropout rates from death, side effects or because patients thought the drug was ineffective.

ALS -- sometimes called Lou Gehrig's disease after the N.Y. Yankee who died of the condition -- is a progressive nervous system disorder that causes weakness in muscles, including those controlling breathing and swallowing. Median survival is three years, and only one drug -- riluzole -- is approved for ALS treatment in the United States.

Interest in lithium, which is often used to treat bipolar disorder, increased after a small Italian study was published two years ago, suggesting a beneficial effect for ALS patients, said Dr. Adriano Chio, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Torino, Italy. In that study, lithium was thought to have prolonged survival of 16 ALS patients, Chio said.

How might lithium have helped?

"Lithium could have an effect on one of the mechanisms supposedly related to the motor neuron degeneration in ALS, the accumulation of pathological proteins in the neuron," said Chio, who led the new study, noting subsequent research has not confirmed this effect.

In the new study, published in the Aug. 17 issue of Neurology, the drop-out rate, at 68 percent, was two times higher than the drop-out rate reported by previous trials, Chio said.

All participants received lithium, but in two different doses, and the drug was not well-tolerated by either group. Patients died or lost their autonomy at the same rate in both groups.

In an editorial accompanying the study, Dr. Carmel Armon of Tufts University said one limitation of the Chio study, which Chio acknowledges, is that it didn't use a true placebo, but rather different doses. Other ongoing studies that are comparing the active drug to placebo may give the definitive answers, Armon said.

"This study [by Chio] shows there are toxic doses of lithium," said Lucie Bruijn, chief scientist for the ALS Association in Washington, D.C.

"We knew lithium has to be monitored carefully in terms of dose," Bruijn said. "What's shown here [in the new study] is a toxic level in some cases and not a strong benefit."

Even at what was termed "subtherapeutic doses," the lithium was poorly tolerated, Chio found. All 71 patients reported at least one adverse event, some as serious as heart disturbance, cerebral hemorrhage or deep vein blood clots.

Chio said two other trials are assessing the effect of lithium in ALS, but he doubts any positive effect of lithium will be shown.

In the future, Chio added, stem cell therapy may prove useful for ALS.

More information

To learn more about ALS, visit the ALS Association.

SOURCES: Adriano Chio, M.D., associate professor, neurology, First Faculty of Medicine, University of Torino, Italy; Lucie Bruijn, Ph.D., chief scientist, ALS Association, Washington, D.C.; Aug. 17, 2010, Neurology


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. No Evidence That Lithium Helps in ALS
2. 30 million women to benefit from health reform law
3. Researchers study benefits of white button mushrooms
4. Study finds patients benefit from thorough discussion of recommended operations
5. Society of Interventional Radiology advances global definition of specialty, benefits patients
6. Social Security Disability Benefits Can Be Crucial to Surviving With Spinal Cord Injury, Allsup Reports
7. Advocate Health Care Reports $462 Million in Community Benefits
8. Parkinson's Disease Patient Tells Personal Story to Benefit PD Research; Donates Book Proceeds to PD Charities
9. Mulago Positive Women's Network Announce Their "BONO" Bracelet Fundraiser to Benefit HIV+ Women in Uganda
10. Intensively lowering glucose: Possible benefits must be weighed against risks
11. Examining risks and benefits of alcohol consumption
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Lithium of No Benefit in ALS, Study Finds
(Date:4/30/2016)... ... 30, 2016 , ... “Aging well is a challenge for all of us, but there are things we can ... Kohli . “Research is showing more and more that there are simple, yet important steps ... as we age.” Top priorities Dr. Kohli’s recommends for her patients include;, , ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... 29, 2016 , ... Since launching its annual volunteer campaign ... the footwear industry, has broken all previous participation records in its first two ... states during the months of April and May, the 2016 Footwear Cares initiative ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... our nation’s productivity, stability, even security. Most importantly, employees are the single most ... why are American workers so unhappy? , Just under half of American workers ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... reveals that infants born with severe congenital diaphragmatic hernia have better survival rates ... with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH)—a condition where the diaphragm fails to form completely, ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... The Gluten-Free ... is pleased to announce the launch of the GFCP Scoop in ... more. The purpose of the GFCP Scoop site is to keep ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... , April 27, 2016  Bayer Animal Health ... senior from the University of Florida College of ... Bayer Excellence in Communication Award (BECA). Brittany was ... were awarded a total of $70,000 in scholarship ... four years, Bayer has provided a total of ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... 27, 2016 Global  urinalysis ... billion by 2022, according to a new report ... (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150105/723757 ) , ... efficiency and accuracy delivered by the new generation ... novel urinalysis instruments and consumables. For instance, the ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: HRC ) ... Deutsche Bank 41 st Annual Health Care Conference on ... You are invited to listen to the live discussion via ... directly at http://edge.media-server.com/m/p/mr4uxgas . A recorded replay of the ... live event and accessible at the links above until August ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: