Monday, January 11, 2010

Talampanel has potential to slow the muscle weakening that comes with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)...

Talampanel (strutcure, source:ChemSpider), (8R)-7-Acetyl-5-  (4-aminophenyl)-8,9-dihydro-8-methyl-7H-1,3-dioxolo[4,5-h][2,3]benzodiazepine  is a drug used to treat epilepsy. Now researchers from Johns Hopkins and Indiana University, have found interesting activity of the same anticonvulsant drug, i.e., the drug has potential to slow the muscle weakening that comes with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)  . The researchers after completing a Phase II clinical trial-an early, small-scale test to show if the drug works and continues to be safe. As per the claim by the researchers,  the drug talampanel showed some ability to slow the loss of major daily life activities such as speaking, walking and dressing that typically slip away as the disease progresses. Interestingly the drug  has the anti-anxiety and  muscle relaxing activity too (work in the brain and spinal cord).

The trial in 59 volunteers with ALS - also called Lou Gehrig's disease - showed that talampanel can be safe for patients with the disease and that any recorded side effects are tolerable.  Phase II trials are designed to show on a small scale if a drug is safe and if it works. So the present trial included ways to measure the drug's benefits, which came across as clear, if not statistically significant. The research demonstrates that talampanel appears able to slow the progression of disabling ALS symptoms. Though the effect isn't overwhelming at the dosage of medicine used in this early, very small trial and the researchers claims that  having promising human data is reason enough to keep it in the drug pipeline where they can really find out where it stands for patient.

With the exception of riluzole, the single FDA-approved drug for the disease, there's no other treatment to slow or stop it. Riluzole can extend life only modestly and hasn't been shown to slow ALS symptoms. so the need for better therapy is real. Hope in the days to come people with ALS symptoms will have a better drug...

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