Low-dose ladostigil for mild cognitive impairment: A phase 2 placebo-controlled clinical trial

Neurology. 2019 Oct 8;93(15):e1474-e1484. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000008239. Epub 2019 Sep 6.


Objective: Ladostigil reduces oxidative stress and microglial activation in aging rats. We assessed its safety and potential efficacy in a 3-year, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 2 clinical trial in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and medial temporal lobe atrophy.

Methods: Patients 55 to 85 years of age with MCI, Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) score of 0.5, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score >24, Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised Verbal Paired Associates I score ≤18, and Medial Temporal Lobe Atrophy Scale score >1 were stratified by APOE ε4 genotype and randomly assigned (1:1) to ladostigil 10 mg/d or placebo. Primary outcomes were safety and onset of Alzheimer disease dementia. Secondary endpoints were Neuropsychological Test Battery (NTB) composite, Disability Assessment in Dementia (DAD), and Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) scores. Exploratory outcomes were NTB component, CDR, and MMSE scores. Biomarkers included MRI-derived whole-brain, hippocampus, and entorhinal cortex volumes.

Results: Two hundred ten patients from 15 sites in Austria, Germany, and Israel were randomly allocated to placebo (107 patients) or ladostigil (103 patients). After 36 months, 21 of 103 patients on placebo and 14 of 99 patients receiving ladostigil progressed to Alzheimer disease (log-rank test p = 0.162). There were no significant effects on the NTB composite, DAD, or GDS score. Whole-brain and hippocampus volumes decreased more in the placebo than in the ladostigil group (whole brain, p = 0.025, Cohen d = 0.43; hippocampus, p = 0.043, d = 0.43). Serious adverse events were reported by 28 of 107 patients treated with placebo and 26 of 103 with ladostigil.

Conclusion: Ladostigil was safe and well tolerated but did not delay progression to dementia. Its association with reduced brain and hippocampus volume loss suggests a potential effect on atrophy.

Clinicaltrialsgov identifier: NCT01429623.

Classification of evidence: This study provides Class II evidence that for patients with MCI and medial temporal lobe atrophy, ladostigil did not significantly decrease the risk of the development of Alzheimer disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Animals
  • Atrophy / drug therapy
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / drug therapy*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / pathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indans / administration & dosage
  • Indans / therapeutic use*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Rats


  • (N-propargyl-(3R) aminoindan-5-yl)-ethyl methyl carbamate
  • Indans

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01429623