Current phase of trial: Phase 2
Type of MS: Secondary progressive MS
How does riluzole work?
Riluzole works by stopping a chemical called glutamate interacting with nerve cells. We know that a build up of glutamate can damage nerve fibres, and researchers believe that blocking glutamate could help to protect nerves in MS.
How is riluzole taken?
MS-SMART is a phase 2 trial that will test the potential of three different drugs - riluzole, amiloride and fluoxetine– in 440 people with secondary progressive MS. The trial is due to finish in 2018.
In 2007 we brought together MS researchers and clinicians to help us develop and run trials for progressive MS. Through this Clinical Trials Network (CTN) we funded £500,000 of early research to help us develop the MS-SMART trial.
Through the work of the CTN we also selected a number of drugs that had the potential to be neuroprotective. And riluzole scored particularly highly.
We don't yet know the side effects of riluzole in MS, this will be tested as part of the MS-SMART trial.
How does riluzole comnpare with current therapies?
Right now there are no effective treatments for secondary progressive MS.
When will riluzole be available?
The MS-SMART trial is due to finish in 2018. If the results are positive riluzole would then need to be tested in larger phase 3 trials before it could be licensed for MS.