A randomized, controlled trial of ZYN002 cannabidiol transdermal gel in children and adolescents with fragile X syndrome (CONNECT-FX)

J Neurodev Disord. 2022 Nov 25;14(1):56. doi: 10.1186/s11689-022-09466-6.

Abstract

Background: Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is associated with dysregulated endocannabinoid signaling and may therefore respond to cannabidiol therapy.

Design: CONNECT-FX was a double-blind, randomized phase 3 trial assessing efficacy and safety of ZYN002, transdermal cannabidiol gel, for the treatment of behavioral symptoms in children and adolescents with FXS.

Methods: Patients were randomized to 12 weeks of ZYN002 (250 mg or 500 mg daily [weight-based]) or placebo, as add-on to standard of care. The primary endpoint assessed change in social avoidance (SA) measured by the Aberrant Behavior Checklist-Community Edition FXS (ABC-CFXS) SA subscale in a full cohort of patients with a FXS full mutation, regardless of the FMR1 methylation status. Ad hoc analyses assessed efficacy in patients with ≥ 90% and 100% methylation of the promoter region of the FMR1 gene, in whom FMR1 gene silencing is most likely.

Results: A total of 212 patients, mean age 9.7 years, 75% males, were enrolled. A total of 169 (79.7%) patients presented with ≥ 90% methylation of the FMR1 promoter and full mutation of FMR1. Although statistical significance for the primary endpoint was not achieved in the full cohort, significant improvement was demonstrated in patients with ≥ 90% methylation of FMR1 (nominal P = 0.020). This group also achieved statistically significant improvements in Caregiver Global Impression-Change in SA and isolation, irritable and disruptive behaviors, and social interactions (nominal P-values: P = 0.038, P = 0.028, and P = 0.002). Similar results were seen in patients with 100% methylation of FMR1. ZYN002 was safe and well tolerated. All treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) were mild or moderate. The most common treatment-related TEAE was application site pain (ZYN002: 6.4%; placebo: 1.0%).

Conclusions: In CONNECT-FX, ZYN002 was well tolerated in patients with FXS and demonstrated evidence of efficacy with a favorable benefit risk relationship in patients with ≥ 90% methylation of the FMR1 gene, in whom gene silencing is most likely, and the impact of FXS is typically most severe.

Trial registration: The CONNECT-FX trial is registered on Clinicaltrials.gov (NCT03614663).

Keywords: Cannabidiol; Clinical trial; Endocannabinoid system; Fragile X syndrome.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Behavioral Symptoms
  • Cannabidiol* / pharmacology
  • Cannabidiol* / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • DNA Methylation
  • Female
  • Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein / genetics
  • Fragile X Syndrome* / drug therapy
  • Fragile X Syndrome* / genetics
  • Gels / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male

Substances

  • Cannabidiol
  • Gels
  • FMR1 protein, human
  • Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03614663