A phase II-III trial of olesoxime in subjects with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Eur J Neurol. 2014 Mar;21(3):529-36. doi: 10.1111/ene.12344. Epub 2014 Jan 21.


Background and purpose: To assess the efficacy and safety of olesoxime, a molecule with neuroprotective properties, in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) treated with riluzole.

Methods: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial of 18 months' duration was conducted in 512 subjects, with probable or definite ALS and a slow vital capacity (SVC) ≥70%, receiving 330 mg olesoxime daily or matching placebo and 50 mg riluzole twice a day in all. The primary intention-to-treat (ITT) outcome analysis was 18 months' survival. Secondary outcomes were rates of deterioration of the revised ALS functional rating scale (ALSFRS-R), focusing on the 9-month assessment, SVC and manual muscle testing. Blood levels, safety and tolerability of olesoxime were also assessed.

Results: At 18 months, 154 of the 512 ITT patients had died (79 of 253 placebo, 75 of 259 olesoxime). Estimated overall survival according to Kaplan-Meier analysis was 67.5% (95% CI 61.0%-73.1%) in the placebo group and 69.4% (95% CI 63.0%-74.9%) in the olesoxime group; hence survival was not significantly different between treatment arms (P = 0.71, stratified bulbar/spinal log-rank). The other efficacy end-points evaluated were also negative, with the exception of a small difference in ALSFRS-R global score at 9 months in favor of olesoxime but not sustained after 18 months' treatment nor evident in either the stratified bulbar or spinal subpopulations. Treatment did not raise any safety concerns.

Conclusions: Olesoxime, although well tolerated, did not show a significant beneficial effect in ALS patients treated with riluzole.

Keywords: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; clinical trials randomized controlled.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cholestenones / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cholestenones
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • olesoxime