Neurim Pharmaceuticals has announced publication of the results from an exploratory phase 2 randomised placebo-controlled clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of add-on Circadin (Prolonged Release melatonin 2mg) to standard therapy in Alzheimer’s disease patients. The study, published in the Clinical Interventions in Aging Journal, demonstrates positive effects of the drug on cognitive performance and sleep maintenance in the Alzheimer’s disease patients.
“Endogenous melatonin levels are reduced already at preclinical Alzheimer’s disease stages. Because melatonin is important for good sleep quality and because poor sleep quality has recently been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, it was important to investigate whether replenishing the missing hormone would be beneficial in AD patients and whether such effects would be related to the improvement in sleep,” says Tali Nir, head of clinical trials at Neurim Pharmaceuticals.
In this study, 80 patients diagnosed with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease, with and without insomnia co-morbidity, receiving standard therapy (acetylcholinesterase inhibitors with or without memantine) were randomly assigned in a double-blind manner to 2mg of Circadin or placebo treatment nightly for 24-weeks. The paper reports that patients treated with Circadin for six months had significantly better cognitive performance than those with placebo as measured by Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) and Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE). Mean Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale – cognition (ADAS-Cog) did not differ between groups. Sleep efficiency as measured by Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) Component 4 also improved with Circadin. In a subgroup of patients suffering from comorbid insomnia, Circadin treatment resulted in significant and clinically meaningful effects vs. placebo in mean IADL (p=0.032), MMSE (+1.5 vs. -3 points, p=0.0177) sleep efficiency (p=0.04), and median ADAS-Cog values (-3.5 vs. +3 points, p=0.045). The treatment was well tolerated.
“We are very pleased with the encouraging data demonstrating efficacy and safety of add-on Circadin for six months on cognitive functioning and sleep in patients with mild-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. This publication comes at an exciting time when the causal relationship between sleep disturbance and the Alzheimer’s disease-relevant accumulation of beta amyloid in brain was discovered,” says Zisapel, chief science officer of Neurim Pharmaceuticals. “This study demonstrates the significance of good sleep quality and melatoninergic mechanisms in improving both cognition and sleep problems in Alzheimer patients and calls for further focus of this mechanism in Alzheimer’s disease treatment.”