A recent OHSU pilot study in the journal Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation suggests that lipoic acid holds promise for people suffering from secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.
The randomized double-blind study involved 51 participants who completed the two-year trial. Twenty-seven people were given a 1,200-milogram daily dose of lipoic acid, with the remaining 24 participants given a placebo.
The major finding of the pilot study involved measuring the degree to which lipoic acid arrested the rate of whole brain atrophy, as measured through magnetic resonance imaging.
The study revealed a 68 percent improvement over the placebo in slowing the rate of whole brain atrophy in patients with secondary progressive MS. For the sake of comparison, a clinical trial involving the recent FDA-approved pharmaceutical Ocrevus showed an 18 percent improvement over a placebo in slowing the rate of whole brain atrophy for patients with primary progressive forms of the disease.
In addition, the pilot study suggested improved walking times and fewer falls among study participants who took a daily dose of lipoic acid compared with those who received the placebo. Researchers are eager to test those outcomes in the larger clinical trial.
A companion study, published concurrently by Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation, measured the rate of absorption and clearance of lipoic acid through periodic blood tests of pilot study participants. The results will help to inform the design of additional clinical trials.