Rosiglitazone does not improve cognition or global function when used as adjunctive therapy to AChE inhibitors in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease: two phase 3 studies

Curr Alzheimer Res. 2011 Aug;8(5):592-606. doi: 10.2174/156720511796391935.


Introduction: Two phase 3 studies evaluated the efficacy and safety of rosiglitazone (RSG), a type 2 diabetes treatment, in an extended release (RSG XR) form as adjunctive therapy to ongoing acetylcholine esterase inhibitor (AChEI) treatment in AD (REFLECT-2, adjunctive to donepezil; REFLECT-3, to any AChEI). An open-label extension study (REFLECT-4) assessed RSG XR long-term safety.

Methods: In these two double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, subjects with mild-to-moderate probable AD were randomized within 2 apolipoprotein E (APOE) allelic strata (APOE ε4-positive, APOE ε4-negative) to once daily placebo, 2 mg RSG XR, or 8 mg RSG XR for 48 weeks (REFLECT-2, N=1,496; REFLECT-3, N=1,485). Co-primary efficacy endpoints were change from baseline in Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive subscale (ADAS-Cog) and Clinical Dementia Rating scale - Sum of Boxes (CDR-SB) scores at week 48. Three populations were analyzed: APOE4-negative, all subjects except APOE ε4 homozygotes, and the full intent-to-treat population.

Results: No statistically or clinically relevant differences between treatment groups were observed on the a priori primary endpoints in REFLECT-2 or REFLECT-3. Edema was the most frequent adverse event with RSG in each study (14% and 19%, respectively, at 8 mg RSG XR).

Conclusions: No evidence of statistically or clinically significant efficacy in cognition or global function was detected for 2 mg or 8 mg RSG XR as adjunctive therapy to ongoing AChEIs. There was no evidence of an interaction between treatment and APOE status. Safety and tolerability of RSG XR was consistent with the known profile of rosiglitazone.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Donepezil
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Indans / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Piperidines / administration & dosage*
  • Rosiglitazone
  • Thiazolidinediones / administration & dosage*


  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Indans
  • Piperidines
  • Thiazolidinediones
  • Rosiglitazone
  • Donepezil