NINDS Stops Coenzyme Q10 Trial

Release date: 6/10/2011

The National Institute for Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS) has announced that they have stopped the clinical trial of Coenzyme Q10, referred to as the QE3 study. The study was designed to test whether fairly high doses of Coenzyme Q10 were effective in slowing the progression of Parkinson's disease, or neuroprotective. The investigators of the trial determined that there was neither a neuroprotective nor a symptomatic benefit of Coenzyme Q10 for people with early Parkinson's disease. Everyone who participated in this trial has already been alerted and the open and forthright communications to both investigators and patients should serve as a model for future clinical trial communications.

We know that this outcome is disappointing to those who devoted time and energy to participate in this trial as well as people with Parkinson's and their families who are seeking new therapies. Coenzyme Q10 is available as an over-the-counter supplement and has been shown to support mitochondria function (energy production) in cells. Clinical trials have also shown some benefit in other conditions. It is a safe and well-tolerated, but expensive over-the-counter, especially in the large doses studied in the QE3 trial. Yet despite this result, the QE3 trial will yield important information — even this negative finding helps scientists to close in on several possible mechanisms and to focus on more promising drugs and studies.

At present, there remain several promising new therapeutic approaches that seek to better target symptoms and potentially slow the disease in clinical and pre-clinical development pipeline. These include gene therapy, advances in DBS and infusion technology, drugs that target better control of motor symptoms, dyskinesias and cognitive symptoms, as well as novel pathways to slow the disease, and we remain hopeful that new treatments may be on the horizon.

Anyone with questions about the trial can contact the National Parkinson Foundation's toll-free Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636) for more information.