Dosage and Efficacy of Probucol-induced apoE to Negate Cognitive Deterioration
Dose-finding and Proof-of-concept Trial of Probucol to Increase Availability of CSF Apolipoprotein-E
  • Phase

    Phase 1/Phase 2
  • Study Type

  • Status

    Completed No Results Posted
  • Intervention/Treatment

    probucol ...
  • Study Participants

DEPEND is an open-label but dosage-masked trial of the retired cholesterol-lowering drug probucol as an agent to increase availability of apolipoprotein E (apoE) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of cognitively intact older persons at risk of Alzheimer's dementia. Absorption of oral probucol is variable. In a sample of 23 cognitively intact persons over age 55, DEPEND will therefore develop an algorithm to prescribe individualized dosing to achieve plasma concentration that will likely increase availability of CSF apoE. These persons will then use their individualized dosage for 12 months to assess longer-term effects of the drug on CSF apoE concentration, while monitoring closely for evidence of adverse consequences of use.
Probucol is a cholesterol-lowering drug that has been removed from the market in Canada and the US, but remains in clinical use in Asia. In rodents, probucol increases synthesis and availability of apolipoprotein E (apoE) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). ApoE is the protein product of the polymorphic gene APOE, allelic variation in which remains the strongest known risk factor (other than age itself) for Alzheimer's dementia. Oral Probucol is absorbed variably. Administration of a single, fixed dose therefore results in a wide range of plasma concentrations when the drug is given to various individuals in a fixed dosage. Limited human data suggest that higher plasma and CSF concentrations of probucol result in stronger increases in CSF apoE concentration. The dual aims of DEPEND are therefore 1) to develop an individualized dosing regimen that will result in plasma concentrations that are likely to increase CSF apoE concentration by 50%; and 2) to treat 20 persons at elevated risk of Alzheimer's dementia, each at his/her ideal individual dosage, for 12 months, observing the resulting change in CSF concentrations of apoE. Simultaneously, subjects will be observed carefully for evidence of any treatment effects on cognition or other probable markers of progression in pre-clinical Alzheimer's disease, as well as safety risks that might deter further human experimentation with the drug.
Study Started
Apr 30
Primary Completion
Mar 31
Study Completion
Mar 31
Last Update
Jan 31

Drug Probucol

Probucol was used with good effect for more than a decade in Canada and the US to reduce plasma cholesterol. Although withdrawn from the Canadian and US markets by its manufacturer for commercial reasons, it is still widely used for this purpose in Japan and Korea. Over the past decade, long-term follow-up studies in Asian populations at high risk of cardiovascular events have shown that the drug reduces the incidence of these events in a manner not unlike "statin" drugs used widely in Canada and the US.

  • Other names: Lorelco (trade name in Japan)

Single arm Experimental

All subjects will receive probucol, starting with a fixed dose of 600 mg daily following the evening meal. The variable plasma concentrations achieved and the resulting modification in concentration of CSF apoE will suggest an ideal range of plasma concentrations for use of the drug as an inducer of increased availability of apoE in the CSF. The known dose-proportionality of the drug in plasma will then be used to estimate an ideal individualized dose for each participant. The effects of such individualized dosage will be tested over 1 year of follow-up observations, searching for treatment effects on CSF apoE and for evidence of other treatment effects, particularly including adverse effects.


Inclusion Criteria:

Family history of one or more parents or multiple siblings who developed Alzheimer-like dementia, as established by review of history and/or medical records, and by responses to a brief questionnaire describing characteristics of the relatives' condition
Aged 60+. May be aged 55-59 only if at least one parent or sibling experienced onset of Alzheimer's dementia at an age no more than 15 years beyond the prospective participant's current age
At least six years of formal education
Sufficient fluency in spoken and written English and/or French to participate in study visits and in psychometric testing
A collateral respondent available to provide information on the cognitive and health status of the participant, and to assist with monitoring of study interventions, if needed
Willingness to undergo four lumbar punctures for collection of CSF
Affirmation of prior informed consent to undergo genetic testing for APOE and other known or suspected AD risk factors
Ability and intention to participate in study visits per protocol, in the opinion of a study physician
Willingness to limit use of over-the-counter or prescription medicines (e.g., tricyclic antidepressants, anti-histamines) known to prolong QTc interval, or to potentiate the tendency of probucol to prolong this interval, in the opinion of a study physician
If on a statin or other lipid lowering drug that, in the opinion of a study physician, can safely be co-administered with probucol, willingness to remain on a stable dose of this medication during the entire trial period.
Provision of informed consent for this trial.

Exclusion Criteria:

Known or identified cognitive disorder diagnosed previously by a physician, psychologist, nurse-clinician, or other health care provider, or by StoP-AD staff
Past or present use of a commercially available acetyl-cholinesterase inhibitor including tacrine, donepezil, rivastigmine, or galantamine
Past or present use of memantine or other approved cognitive enhancement prescription agent
History of heart disease, myocardial infarction or documented acute coronary syndrome, or arrhythmia (including atrial fibrillation)
Corrected QT interval using Bazett's formula (QTcB) interval > 450 msec for males or 470 msec for females as detected by EKG and confirmed by consultant cardiologist
Clinically significant hypertension, anemia, liver disease, or kidney disease, in opinion of a study physician (participants with treated hypertension who are normotensive as a result of intervention may be enrolled.)
Concurrent use of over-the-counter or prescription medicines (e.g., tricyclic antidepressants, anti-histamines) known to prolong QTc interval, or to potentiate the tendency of probucol to prolong this interval, in the opinion of a study physician
Any inflammatory or chronic pain condition that necessitates regular use of opiates (e.g., oxycodone, hydrocodone, tramadol, meperidine, hydromorphone), or NSAIDs (more than 4 doses / week)
Current plasma creatinine > 132 mmol/l (1.5 mg/dl)
Current alcohol, barbiturate or benzodiazepine abuse or dependence (in opinion of study physician)
Any other medical condition that, in the opinion of a study physician, makes it inadvisable for the participant to be assigned to regular dosage of probucol
Enrolment in any trial or experimental protocol that, in the opinion of a study physician, is likely to interfere with PREVENT-AD or any of its derivative protocols including this one
Any other condition that, in the opinion of a study physician, makes it medically inappropriate for the participant to enroll in the program
No Results Posted