Objective: We tested biweekly infusions of IV immunoglobulin (IVIg) as a possible treatment for mild to moderate Alzheimer disease (AD) dementia.
Methods: In a phase 3, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, we randomly assigned 390 participants with mild to moderate AD to receive placebo (low-dose albumin) or IVIg (Gammagard Liquid; Baxalta, Bannockburn, IL) administered IV at doses of 0.2 or 0.4 g/kg every 2 weeks for 18 months. The primary cognitive outcome was change from baseline to 18 months on the 11-item cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale; the primary functional outcome was 18-month change on the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study-Activities of Daily Living Inventory. Safety and tolerability data, as well as serial MRIs and plasma samples, were collected throughout the study from all enrolled participants.
Results: No beneficial effects were observed in the dual primary outcome measures for the 2 IVIg doses tested. Significant decreases in plasma Aβ42 (but not Aβ40) levels were observed in IVIg-treated participants. Analysis of safety data showed no difference between IVIg and placebo in terms of the rate of occurrence of amyloid-related imaging abnormalities (brain edema or microhemorrhage). IVIg-treated participants had more systemic reactions (chills, rashes) but fewer respiratory infections than participants receiving placebo.
Conclusions: Participants with mild to moderate AD showed good tolerability of treatment with low-dose human IVIg for 18 months but did not show beneficial effects on cognition or function relative to participants who received placebo.
Clinicaltrialsgov identifier: NCT00818662.
Classification of evidence: This study provides Class II evidence that IVIg infusions performed every 2 weeks do not improve cognition or function at 18 months in patients with mild to moderate AD.
© 2017 American Academy of Neurology.