A prospective, multicenter, phase I matched-comparison group trial of safety, pharmacokinetics, and preliminary efficacy of riluzole in patients with traumatic spinal cord injury.


A prospective, multicenter phase I trial was undertaken by the North American Clinical Trials Network (NACTN) to investigate the pharmacokinetics and safety of, as well as obtain pilot data on, the effects of riluzole on neurological outcome in acute spinal cord injury (SCI). Thirty-six patients, with ASIA impairment grades A-C (28 cervical and 8 thoracic) were enrolled at 6 NACTN sites between April 2010 and June 2011. Patients received 50 mg of riluzole PO/NG twice-daily, within 12 h of SCI, for 14 days. Peak and trough plasma concentrations were quantified on days 3 and 14. Peak plasma concentration (Cmax) and systemic exposure to riluzole varied significantly between patients. On the same dose basis, Cmax did not reach levels comparable to those in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Riluzole plasma levels were significantly higher on day 3 than on day 14, resulting from a lower clearance and a smaller volume of distribution on day 3. Rates of medical complications, adverse events, and progression of neurological status were evaluated by comparison with matched patients in the NACTN SCI Registry. Medical complications in riluzole-treated patients occurred with incidences similar to those in patients in the comparison group. Mild-to-moderate increase in liver enzyme and bilirubin levels were found in 14-70% of patients for different enzymes. Three patients had borderline severe elevations of enzymes. No patient had elevated bilirubin on day 14 of administration of riluzole. There were no serious adverse events related to riluzole and no deaths. The mean motor score of 24 cervical injury riluzole-treated patients gained 31.2 points from admission to 90 days, compared to 15.7 points for 26 registry patients, a 15.5-point difference (p=0.021). Patients with cervical injuries treated with riluzole had more-robust conversions of impairment grades to higher grades than the comparison group.





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Publication Info

Grossman, Robert G, Michael G Fehlings, Ralph F Frankowski, Keith D Burau, Diana SL Chow, Charles Tator, Angela Teng, Elizabeth G Toups, et al. (2014). A prospective, multicenter, phase I matched-comparison group trial of safety, pharmacokinetics, and preliminary efficacy of riluzole in patients with traumatic spinal cord injury. Journal of neurotrauma, 31(3). pp. 239–255. 10.1089/neu.2013.2969 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/28538.

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Christopher Ignatius Shaffrey

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

I have more than 25 years of experience treating patients of all ages with spinal disorders. I have had an interest in the management of spinal disorders since starting my medical education. I performed residencies in both orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire range of spinal disorders. My goal has been to find innovative ways to manage the range of spinal conditions, straightforward to complex. I have a focus on managing patients with complex spinal disorders. My patient evaluation and management philosophy is to provide engaged, compassionate care that focuses on providing the simplest and least aggressive treatment option for a particular condition. In many cases, non-operative treatment options exist to improve a patient’s symptoms. I have been actively engaged in clinical research to find the best ways to manage spinal disorders in order to achieve better results with fewer complications.

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