NIH Cuts Short ALS Lithium Trial; MDA’s Trial Continues for Now

The investigators on a study of lithium carbonate in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), funded by the National Institutes of Health, the ALS Association and the ALS Society of Canada, announced Sept. 23, 2009, that they will stop their study after an interim analysis showed the drug was not beneficial. MDA is not a funder of this study.

The MDA-supported study of lithium (See Lithium Open-Label Study) will remain open for the time being. The MDA trial is separate from the canceled NIH trial, and the dosages and trial design are not the same.

Clinical trials of the effectiveness of lithium in ALS were undertaken after a small study in Italy was published in 2008, reporting that lithium appeared to dramatically slow the course of the disease.

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