The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Coenzyme Q10 fails in treatment of ALS

    Dr. Petra Kaufmann (not in the photo) at Columbia University Medical Center, in New York reports that high-dose coenzyme Q10 (coQ10) is not promising enough to warrant further study as a treatment for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease).

    Actually, this isn’t news. It was reported about 11 months ago during the American Academy of Neurology meeting in Chicago.

    First, the details.

    • 185 people with ALS were treated with either coQ10 up to 2,700 mg/day or placebo in a phase 2 study

    And, the results.

    • The differences between treatments were not large enough to suggest that one would find a meaningful difference in a future phase 3 (large-scale) trial.

    The bottom line?
    Dr. Kaufmann says, “It frees ALS patients from believing they have to buy coQ10, and it frees resources to test other drugs rather than conducting an expensive, phase 3 trial of coQ10 in ALS.”

    An earlier animal study suggested that coQ10 might be useful due to its antioxidant actions and positive effects on mitochondria (the energy source in cells). There was also support in a small study in ALS patients based on its antioxidant effects.

    ALS is a disease of the nerves located in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. Only 1 prescription drug (Rilutek; riluzole) is approved as treatment, and it has modest effects.

    More about ALS is here.

    3/16/09 20:06 JR

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