Sembragiline in Moderate Alzheimer's Disease: Results of a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Phase II Trial (MAyflOwer RoAD)

J Alzheimers Dis. 2017;58(4):1217-1228. doi: 10.3233/JAD-161309.


Background: Sembragiline is a potent, selective, long-acting, and reversible MAO-B inhibitor developed as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Objective: To evaluate the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of sembragiline in patients with moderate AD.

Methods: In this Phase II study (NCT01677754), 542 patients with moderate dementia (MMSE 13-20) on background acetylcholinesterase inhibitors with/without memantine were randomized (1:1:1) to sembragiline 1 mg, 5 mg, or placebo once daily orally for 52 weeks.

Results: No differences between treated groups and placebo in adverse events or in study completion. The primary endpoint, change from baseline in ADAS-Cog11, was not met. At Week 52, the difference between sembragiline and placebo in ADAS-Cog11 change from baseline was - 0.15 (p = 0.865) and 0.90 (p = 0.312) for 1 and 5 mg groups, respectively. Relative to placebo at Week 52 (but not at prior assessment times), the 1 mg and 5 mg sembragiline groups showed differences in ADCS-ADL of 2.64 (p = 0.051) and 1.89 (p = 0.160), respectively. A treatment effect in neuropsychiatric symptoms (as assessed by the difference between sembragiline and placebo on BEHAVE-AD-FW) was also seen at Week 52 only: - 2.80 (p = 0.014; 1 mg) and - 2.64 (p = 0.019; 5 mg), respectively. A post hoc subgroup analysis revealed greater treatment effects on behavior and functioning in patients with more severe baseline behavioral symptoms (above the median).

Conclusions: This study showed that sembragiline was well-tolerated in patients with moderate AD. The study missed its primary and secondary endpoints. Post hoc analyses suggested potential effect on neuropsychiatric symptoms and functioning in more behaviorally impaired study population at baseline.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Phase II clinical trial; dementia; monoamine oxidase B.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acetamides / therapeutic use*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hippocampus / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Mental Status and Dementia Tests
  • Middle Aged
  • Pyrrolidinones / therapeutic use*


  • Acetamides
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Pyrrolidinones
  • sembragiline

Associated data