Objectives: We aimed to provide a consensus statement by the International Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behavior Disorder Study Group (IRBD-SG) on devising controlled active treatment studies in rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (RBD) and devising studies of neuroprotection against Parkinson disease (PD) and related neurodegeneration in RBD.
Methods: The consensus statement was generated during the fourth IRBD-SG symposium in Marburg, Germany in 2011. The IRBD-SG identified essential methodologic components for a randomized trial in RBD, including potential screening and diagnostic criteria, inclusion and exclusion criteria, primary and secondary outcomes for symptomatic therapy trials (particularly for melatonin and clonazepam), and potential primary and secondary outcomes for eventual trials with disease-modifying and neuroprotective agents. The latter trials are considered urgent, given the high conversion rate from idiopathic RBD (iRBD) to Parkinsonian disorders (i.e., PD, dementia with Lewy bodies [DLB], multiple system atrophy [MSA]).
Results: Six inclusion criteria were identified for symptomatic therapy and neuroprotective trials: (1) diagnosis of RBD needs to satisfy the International Classification of Sleep Disorders, second edition, (ICSD-2) criteria; (2) minimum frequency of RBD episodes should preferably be ⩾2 times weekly to allow for assessment of change; (3) if the PD-RBD target population is included, it should be in the early stages of PD defined as Hoehn and Yahr stages 1-3 in Off (untreated); (4) iRBD patients with soft neurologic dysfunction and with operational criteria established by the consensus of study investigators; (5) patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI); and (6) optimally treated comorbid OSA. Twenty-four exclusion criteria were identified. The primary outcome measure for RBD treatment trials was determined to be the Clinical Global Impression (CGI) efficacy index, consisting of a four-point scale with a four-point side-effect scale. Assessment of video-polysomnographic (vPSG) changes holds promise but is costly and needs further elaboration. Secondary outcome measures include sleep diaries; sleepiness scales; PD sleep scale 2 (PDSS-2); serial motor examinations; cognitive indices; mood and anxiety indices; assessment of frequency of falls, gait impairment, and apathy; fatigue severity scale; and actigraphy and customized bed alarm systems. Consensus also was established for evaluating the clinical and vPSG aspects of RBD. End points for neuroprotective trials in RBD, taking lessons from research in PD, should be focused on the ultimate goal of determining the performance of disease-modifying agents. To date no compound with convincing evidence of disease-modifying or neuroprotective efficacy has been identified in PD. Nevertheless, iRBD patients are considered ideal candidates for neuroprotective studies.
Conclusions: The IRBD-SG provides an important platform for developing multinational collaborative studies on RBD such as on environmental risk factors for iRBD, as recently reported in a peer-reviewed journal article, and on controlled active treatment studies for symptomatic and neuroprotective therapy that emerged during the 2011 consensus conference in Marburg, Germany, as described in our report.
Keywords: Clonazepam; Melatonin; Neuroprotective studies; Parkinson disease, PD; REM sleep behavior disorder, RBD; Treatment studies; Videopolysomnography; α-Synucleinopathies.
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