A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of deprenyl and thioctic acid in human immunodeficiency virus-associated cognitive impairment. Dana Consortium on the Therapy of HIV Dementia and Related Cognitive Disorders

Neurology. 1998 Mar;50(3):645-51. doi: 10.1212/wnl.50.3.645.


Cognitive impairment is a frequent manifestation of advanced human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. The response to antiretroviral medication is often partial and poorly sustained. Recent studies suggest that free radical production within the CNS and neuronal apoptosis may play important roles in the pathogenesis of HIV dementia. We conducted a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trial using a parallel group, 2 x 2 factorial design evaluating deprenyl, a monoamine oxidase B inhibitor and putative anti-apoptotic agent, and thioctic acid, an antioxidant, in 36 patients with HIV-associated cognitive impairment. Both deprenyl and thioctic acid were well tolerated with few adverse events. Deprenyl recipients showed significant improvement on tests of verbal memory compared with patients not taking deprenyl. Thioctic acid treatment did not improve cognitive function. These results suggest that deprenyl treatment is associated with cognitive improvement in subjects with mild HIV-associated cognitive impairment, whereas thioctic acid has no benefit. A larger efficacy trial is needed to assess the long-term effect of deprenyl on cognitive performance in patients with HIV infection.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / adverse effects
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Cognition Disorders / virology*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Placebos
  • Selegiline / adverse effects
  • Selegiline / therapeutic use*
  • Thioctic Acid / adverse effects
  • Thioctic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antioxidants
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
  • Placebos
  • Selegiline
  • Thioctic Acid