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Randomized controlled trial of ethyl-eicosapentaenoic acid in Huntington disease: the TREND-HD study

Huntington Study Group TREND-HD Investigators: Dorsey ER, Shoulson I, Leavitt B, Ross C, Beck CA, de Blieck EA, Greenamyre JT, Hersch SM, Kieburtz K, Marder K, McCallum C, Moskowitz C, Oakes D, Rosenblatt et al (2008) Arch Neurol. 2008 65(12) 1582-9. doi: 10.1001/archneur.65.12.1582. Erratum in: Arch Neurol. 2009 66(3):305. 

Web URL: View this and related abstracts via PubMed here


OBJECTIVE: To determine whether ethyl-eicosapentaenoic acid (ethyl-EPA), an omega-3 fatty acid, improves the motor features of Huntington disease.

DESIGN: Six-month multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial followed by a 6-month open-label phase without disclosing initial treatment assignments.

SETTING: Forty-one research sites in the United States and Canada.

PATIENTS: Three hundred sixteen adults with Huntington disease, enriched for a population with shorter trinucleotide (cytosine-adenine-guanine) repeat length expansions.

INTERVENTIONS: Random assignment to placebo or ethyl-EPA, 1 g twice a day, followed by open-label treatment with ethyl-EPA.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Six-month change in the Total Motor Score 4 component of the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale analyzed for all research participants and those with shorter cytosine-adenine-guanine repeat length expansions (<45).

RESULTS: At 6 months, the Total Motor Score 4 point change for patients receiving ethyl-EPA did not differ from that for those receiving placebo. No differences were found in measures of function, cognition, or global impression. Before public disclosure of the 6-month placebo-controlled results, 192 individuals completed the open-label phase. The Total Motor Score 4 change did not worsen for those who received active treatment for 12 continuous months compared with those who received active treatment for only 6 months (2.0-point worsening; P=.02).

CONCLUSION: Ethyl-EPA was not beneficial in patients with Huntington disease during 6 months of placebo-controlled evaluation. Clinical Trial Registry Identifier: NCT00146211.