Optical coherence tomography outcomes from SPRINT-MS, a multicenter, randomized, double-blind trial of ibudilast in progressive multiple sclerosis

Mult Scler. 2021 Aug;27(9):1384-1390. doi: 10.1177/1352458520964409. Epub 2020 Oct 15.


Background: The SPRINT-MS trial demonstrated benefit of ibudilast on brain atrophy over 96 weeks in progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). Optical coherence tomography (OCT) was performed in all trial participants.

Objective: Report the OCT results of the SPRINT-MS trial.

Methods: OCT was obtained at baseline and every 6 months using spectral domain OCT and analyzed by an OCT reading center. Change in each OCT outcome measure by treatment group was estimated using linear mixed models.

Results: Change in pRNFL thickness was +0.0424 uM/year (95% confidence interval (CI): -0.3091 to 0.3939) for ibudilast versus -0.2630 uM (95% CI: -0.5973 to 0.0714) for placebo (n = 244, p = 0.22). Macular volume change was -0.00503 mm3/year (-0.02693 to 0.01688) with ibudilast versus -0.03659 mm3/year (-0.05824 to -0.01494) for placebo in the Spectralis cohort (n = 61, p = 0.044). For the Cirrus cohort, macular volume change was -0.00040 mm3/year (-0.02167, 0.020866) with ibudilast compared to -0.02083 mm3/year (-0.04134 to -0.00033) for placebo (n = 183, p = 0.1734). Ganglion cell-inner plexiform layer thickness change, available from Cirrus, was -0.4893 uM/year (-0.9132, -0.0654) with ibudilast versus -0.9587 uM/year (-1.3677, -0.5498) with placebo (n = 183, p = 0.12).

Conclusion: Retinal thinning in MS may be attenuated by ibudilast. Sample size estimates suggest OCT can be a viable outcome measure in progressive MS trials if a therapy has a large treatment effect.

Trial registration: NN102/SPRINT-MS ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01982942.

Keywords: Optical coherence tomography; ibudilast; multiple sclerosis; neuroprotection.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive* / drug therapy
  • Pyridines / therapeutic use*
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence


  • Pyridines
  • ibudilast

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01982942