Licostinel (ACEA 1021; 5-nitro-6, 7-dichloro-2,3-quinoxalinedione), a competitive antagonist of glycine at the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, is an effective neuroprotective agent in animal models of cerebral ischemia. The purpose of this study was to assess the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of licostinel in patients with acute stroke.In this 5-center dose escalation trial, patients were enrolled within 48 hours of an ischemic stroke and treated with ascending doses of a short infusion of licostinel or a placebo. Adverse effects were assessed with clinical and laboratory measurements, and patient outcome was determined with the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale.Sixty-four patients (44 treated with escalating doses of licostinel and 20 who received placebo) were treated. Lower doses of licostinel (0.03 to 0.60 mg/kg) were not associated with any significant adverse effects. Higher doses of licostinel (1.2 to 3.0 mg/kg) were associated with a variety of mild-to-moderate adverse effects including neurological and gastrointestinal complaints. No major psychotomimetic effects or significant safety concerns occurred. At the higher dose levels, peak plasma concentrations of licostinel were substantially higher than those required for neuroprotection in animal stroke models. A similar improvement in National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale scores over time was seen in both the placebo group and the licostinel-treated patients.A short infusion of licostinel in doses up to 3.0 mg/kg is safe and tolerable in acute stroke patients. Licostinel may be a safer and better tolerated neuroprotective agent than many of the previously evaluated NMDA antagonists.
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View details for PubMedID 10066844