Adaptive crossover designs for assessment of symptomatic treatments targeting behaviour in neurodegenerative disease: a phase 2 clinical trial of intranasal oxytocin for frontotemporal dementia (FOXY) Finger, Elizabeth; Berry, Scott; Cummings, Jeffrey; Coleman, Kristy; Hsiung, Robin; Feldman, Howard H; Boxer, Adam
Background: There are currently no treatments for empathy deficits in neuropsychiatric disorders. Acute administration of the hormone oxytocin has been associated with symptomatic improvements across animal models and several neuropsychiatric disorders, but results of the majority of oxytocin randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of longer duration have been negative or inconclusive. This lack of efficacy of may be due to rapid habituation to oxytocin with chronic dosing. The objective of the present study is to describe the design of a phase 2 adaptive randomised controlled crossover trial of intranasal oxytocin in frontotemporal dementia (FOXY) as an efficient model for future investigations of symptomatic treatments in neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. Methods: Stage 1 will identify which of three dose schedules is most promising based on change in the primary outcome measure, the Neuropsychiatric Inventory apathy/indifference domain score, over 6 weeks of treatment. In stage 2, additional patients are enrolled at the most promising dose for preliminary efficacy analysis when combined with stage 1 to determine if a phase 3 trial is warranted. Objective measures include facial expression recognition, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) oxytocin levels, and behavioural ratings of videotaped interactions. Results: A total of 20 patients per arm will be entered into stage 1 for a total of 60 patients. In stage 2, an additional 40 patients will be enrolled in the most promising dose arm. Conclusions: The use of adaptive, crossover designs and inclusion of objective measures of change in CSF oxytocin levels and social behaviour will improve the efficiency and conclusiveness of RCTs of oxytocin and other symptomatic treatments in neuropsychiatric disorders. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03260920 . Registered on August 24, 2017.
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