Study: Hydroxychloroquine Delays Disability for Least Treatable Form of Multiple Sclerosis

The researchers projected that approximately 14 participants would experience a significant worsening of their walking function, however, only 8 participants had their walking function decline.

A study from the University of Calgary has found that hydroxychloroquine shows promise in treating the evolution of disability of primary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a press release.

Researchers Marcus Koch, MD, PhD, and Wee Yong, PhD, both found that the drug helped to slow the worsening of disability during the 18-month study involving participants in the MS clinic in Calgary.

“With primary progressive MS, there is no good treatment to stop or reverse the progression of disease. The disability progressively worsens through time,” Koch said in the press release. “Dr. Yong’s research team, with whom we closely collaborate, has been screening a large number of generic drugs over several years and the results with hydroxychloroquine show some promise. Our trial is a preliminary success that needs further research. We hope sharing these results will help inspire that work, specifically larger scale clinical trials into the future.”

The single-arm, phase 2 futility trial followed 35 patients with MS between November 2016 and June 2021. The researchers projected that approximately 14 participants would experience a significant worsening of their walking function, however, only 8 participants had their walking function decline.

Hydroxychloroquine was chosen because it is widely used in rheumatological diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and is mostly well tolerated by these patients, according to the study authors.

“Based on research in our lab on models of MS, we predicted that hydroxychloroquine would reduce disability in people living with MS. Calgary has a vibrant bench-to-bedside MS program and the work from Dr. Koch’s trial offers further evidence which we were pleased to see,” Yong said in the press release.

Koch and the other researchers will continue to study hydroxychloroquine for its potential to achieve greater results as a therapy in combination with other generic drugs, according to the release.

REFERENCE

Study finds hydroxychloroquine delays disability for least treatable form of multiple sclerosis. University of Calgary. January 14, 2022. Accessed January 17, 2022. https://cumming.ucalgary.ca/news/study-finds-hydroxychloroquine-delays-disability-least-treatable-form-multiple-sclerosis