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Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a progressive neurodegenerative illness that affects the frontal and anterior temporal lobes of the brain. Changes in behavior, including agitation, aggression, and repetitive behaviors, are common symptoms in FTD. The investigators currently do not have good medications to treat these symptoms in FTD, and the medications the investigators use often have side effects. In this project, the investigators will test the use of low-dose lithium, compared to a placebo pill, for the treatment of behavioral symptoms in FTD. Lithium greatly reduces the behavioral symptoms of bipolar disorder, and many have found low-dose lithium to be well-tolerated in patients with dementia. Lithium appears to inhibit the creation of a protein involved in many cases of FTD called tau.
Behavioral symptoms of Frontotemporal dementia (FTD), including agitation, aggression, and inappropriate repetitive behaviors are common, distressing to patients and caregivers, often lead to institutionalization, and can be very difficult and expensive to treat. There is a dearth of medication for treating these symptoms in FTD. Typically, antidepressants and antipsychotic medications are prescribed - which low efficacy and, with the latter class, carry serious adverse effects such as parkinsonism and increased cardiovascular-related mortality. The investigators propose a study of the efficacy of lithium carbonate compared to placebo in the treatment of agitation, aggression, and inappropriate repetitive behaviors in 60 patients with FTD in a randomized, double-blind, two-arm parallel 12-week trial. Lithium is a highly effective treatment for mania and symptoms of agitation or aggression in bipolar disorder. It also inhibits tau aggregation and phosphorylation, leading to considerable interest in its use as a disease-modifying treatment for tauopathies such as FTD and Alzheimer's disease. Unfortunately, earlier trials using typical doses (i.e., doses prescribed for treatment of bipolar disorder) showed high incidence of serious adverse effects (including confusion and delirium). For the study proposed study the investigators will: 1) use lower doses and lower target serum concentrations than have preceding trials (shown in preliminary data from a Columbia study and data from other labs to be well-tolerated) and 2) target behavioral symptoms rather than cognitive outcomes.
Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Treatment
Lithium Carbonate, Placebo
Not yet recruiting
Johns Hopkins University
Published on BioPortfolio: 2016-08-11T08:23:21-0400
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