Simvastatin as add-on therapy to interferon beta-1a for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (SIMCOMBIN study): a placebo-controlled randomised phase 4 trial.
Author(s): Sorensen PS, Lycke J, Eralinna JP, Edland A, Wu X, Frederiksen JL, Oturai A, Malmestrom C, Stenager E, Sellebjerg F, Sondergaard HB
Affiliation(s): Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center, Department of Neurology, Copenhagen University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark. firstname.lastname@example.org
Publication date & source: 2011-08, Lancet Neurol., 10(8):691-701.
Publication type: Clinical Trial, Phase IV; Comparative Study; Multicenter Study; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
BACKGROUND: Treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis with interferon beta is only partly effective. We aimed to establish whether add-on of simvastatin, a statin with anti-inflammatory properties, improves this efficacy. METHODS: We enrolled treatment-naive patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis in a multicentre, placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomised, parallel-group trial of simvastatin (80 mg daily) as add-on treatment to intramuscular interferon beta-1a (30 mug weekly). After starting treatment with interferon beta, patients were randomly assigned (in computer-generated blocks of four patients) to simvastatin 80 mg per day or placebo for 1-3 years. Patients and treating and evaluating physicians were masked to treatment allocation. The primary outcome measure was annual rate of documented relapses; analysis was by intention to treat. This trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT00492765. FINDINGS: We randomly assigned 307 patients to interferon beta plus simvastatin (n=151) or plus placebo (n=156). Annual rate of documented relapses was 0.19 (95% CI 0.13 to 0.28) in the simvastatin group and 0.14 (95% CI 0.09 to 0.23) in the placebo group (absolute difference 0.059, 95% CI -0.21 to 0.09; p=0.35). Time to first documented relapse (20th percentile) was 18.1 months in patients on simvastatin and 21.5 months in those on placebo (hazard ratio 1.21, 95% CI 0.74 to 1.99; p=0.51). Mean number of new or enlarging T2 lesions was 2.96 in the simvastatin group and 2.52 in the placebo group (ratio of new lesions, 1.17, 95% CI 8.89 to 1.55; p=0.25). Eight (6%) patients on simvastatin and 17 (13%) on placebo had no disease activity (odds ratio 0.42, 95% CI 0.17 to 1.00; p=0.05). No unexpected adverse events were seen. Generally, adverse events were mild and there were no group differences in infections or musculoskeletal disorders, including myalgia (five [3%] patients on simvastatin and nine [6%] on placebo). Rhabdomyolysis and myoglobinuria were not reported and there were no differences in serum creatine phosphokinase. INTERPRETATION: We found no beneficial effect of simvastatin as add-on therapy to interferon beta-1a. Although unlikely, we can not exclude that combination of other statins with other disease-modifying drugs still could be beneficial. FUNDING: Biogen Idec. Copyright (c) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.