Andrographolide, an herbal compound with anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties, is able to slow brain atrophy and progression of disability in people with non-active progressive multiple sclerosis (PMS), according to results from a Phase 1/2 clinical trial.
The study, “Efficacy of andrographolide in not active progressive multiple sclerosis: a prospective exploratory double-blind, parallel-group, randomized, placebo-controlled trial,” was published in the journal BMC Neurology.
Progressive multiple sclerosis is defined by increasing damage to the nervous system over time. It can be divided into two main types: primary, in which the disease gradually worsens from onset, and secondary, in which progressive disease occurs following a period of relapse and remission.
Patients can also be categorized as having active or non-active disease, depending on whether or not active inflammation sites are present in the central nervous system.
Medications that target functions of the immune system, including Mayzent (siponimod) and Ocrevus (ocrelizumab), recently have been approved for the treatment of different forms of PMS. But it is not known whether certain herbal compounds can also be used as complementary treatments for these patients.
Andrographolide is a molecule isolated from the plant species Andrographis paniculata, commonly known as green chiretta, an East Indian herb often used in Chinese medicine. The compound has emerged as a potential treatment candidate for MS patients, showing an ability to effectively modulate immune system activity.
In animal models of multiple sclerosis (MS), andrographolide showed a number of clinical benefits, including a reduction in inflammation, mitigation of neurotoxicity from microglial cells, decrease in cognitive impairment, and increase in numbers of neurons.
Researchers at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Universidad Austral de Chile thus launched a Phase 1/2 pilot trial (NCT02273635) to investigate the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of andrographolide in patients with non-active PMS.
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