Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lithium shows no benefit for people with ALS

Date:
August 12, 2010
Source:
American Academy of Neurology
Summary:
A new study has found that the drug lithium is not effective in treating people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

A new study has found that the drug lithium is not effective in treating people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

Related Articles


The research is published in the August 11, 2010, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

ALS is a progressive disorder of the nervous system causing weakness in muscles, including those controlling swallowing and breathing. For the majority of people, weakness tends to progress, causing death in three to five years.

People with ALS have been interested in lithium as a treatment after promising results were reported from a small Italian study.

The current study, also conducted in Italy, was stopped early due to an extremely high dropout rate from death, serious side effects and lack of benefit.

The study involved 171 people with ALS. One group of 87 people received a dosage of lithium considered to be therapeutic. The other group of 84 people received a dosage of lithium that was subtherapeutic, or lower than approved uses of lithium.

There was no difference between the two groups in how long the participants lived, how long until they were severely disabled or how well they were able to function with activities such as walking and swallowing. Of the 171 people, 117 or 68 percent had dropped out of the study due to death, side effects or because they thought the drug was ineffective.

"This discontinuation rate is two times higher than that in other recent studies for ALS drugs," said study author Adriano Chiò, MD, of the University of Turin in Italy and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "This high dropout level, along with the relatively high frequency of side effects, raises serious doubts about the safety of this drug and also shows it to be ineffective for people with ALS."

ALS expert Carmel Armon, MD, MHS, of Tufts University School of Medicine and Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., points out in an accompanying editorial that this study did not use a true placebo. Two additional studies in progress that have some participants taking placebo may provide the definitive answer on whether lithium is effective in ALS, he said.

The study was supported by the Italian National Health System.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Neurology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. A. Chiò, G. Borghero, A. Calvo, M. Capasso, C. Caponnetto, M. Corbo, F. Giannini, G. Logroscino, J. Mandrioli, N. Marcello, L. Mazzini, C. Moglia, M. R. Monsurrò, G. Mora, F. Patti, M. Perini, V. Pietrini, F. Pisano, E. Pupillo, M. Sabatelli, F. Salvi, V. Silani, I. L. Simone, G. Sorarù, M. R. Tola, P. Volanti, E. Beghi, and On behalf of the LITALS Study Group. Lithium carbonate in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Lack of efficacy in a dose-finding trial. Neurology, 2010; DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181ed9e7c
  2. Carmel Armon. Is the lithium-for-ALS genie back in the bottle? Not quite. Neurology, 2010; DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181ed9ef7

Cite This Page:

American Academy of Neurology. "Lithium shows no benefit for people with ALS." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100811162348.htm>.
American Academy of Neurology. (2010, August 12). Lithium shows no benefit for people with ALS. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100811162348.htm
American Academy of Neurology. "Lithium shows no benefit for people with ALS." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100811162348.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) — Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins