Effect of rovatirelin in patients with cerebellar ataxia: two randomised double-blind placebo-controlled phase 3 trials

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2020 Mar;91(3):254-262. doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2019-322168. Epub 2020 Jan 14.


Objective: To investigate the efficacy of rovatirelin, a thyrotropin-releasing hormone analogue, for ataxias in patients with spinocerebellar degeneration (SCD).

Methods: Two multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 studies (KPS1301, KPS1305) enrolled patients with predominant cerebellar ataxia, including SCA6, SCA31 or cortical cerebellar atrophy. KPS1301 enrolled patients with truncal ataxia and KPS1305 enrolled patients with truncal and limb ataxia. Each study included 4 weeks of pretreatment, a 28-week or 24-week treatment period and 4 weeks of follow-up. Patients were randomised (1:1:1) to rovatirelin (1.6 or 2.4 mg) or placebo in KPS1301, and randomised (1:1) to rovatirelin 2.4 mg or placebo in KPS1305. The primary endpoint was change in Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia (SARA) total scores. Pooled analysis was performed in patients who met the SARA recruitment criteria of KPS1305.

Results: From October 2013 to May 2014, KPS1301 enrolled 411 patients; 374 were randomised to rovatirelin 1.6 mg (n=125), rovatirelin 2.4 mg (n=126) or placebo (n=123). From November 2016 to August 2017, KPS1305 enrolled 241 patients; 203 were randomised to rovatirelin 2.4 mg (n=101) or placebo (n=102). The primary endpoint showed no significant difference between rovatirelin and placebo in these two studies. In the pooled analysis (n=278), the difference between rovatirelin 2.4 mg (n=140) and placebo (n=138) was -0.61 (-1.64 vs -1.03; 95% CI -1.16 to -0.06; p=0.029) in the adjusted mean change in the SARA total score.

Conclusions: Rovatirelin is a potentially effective treatment option for SCD.

Trial registration number: NCT01970098; NCT02889302.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cerebellar Ataxia / drug therapy*
  • Cerebellar Ataxia / etiology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxazolidinones / therapeutic use*
  • Pyrrolidines / therapeutic use*
  • Spinocerebellar Degenerations / complications
  • Spinocerebellar Degenerations / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Oxazolidinones
  • Pyrrolidines
  • rovatirelin

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01970098
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02889302