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Lancet. 2015 May 2;385(9979):1748-1757. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60025-3. Epub 2015 Apr 20.

Efficacy of idebenone on respiratory function in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy not using glucocorticoids (DELOS): a double-blind randomised placebo-controlled phase 3 trial.

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University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. Electronic address:
Institut de Myologie, Université Pierre et Marie Curie INSERM UMR 974, CNRS FRE 3617, Groupe Hospitalier de la Pitié Salpetrière, Paris, France.
Universitätsklinikum, Essen, Germany.
Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, Netherlands.
Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Eugenio Medea, Lecco, Italy.
Gottfried von Preyer'sches Kinderspital, Vienna, Austria.
Centre Hospitalier Régional Universitaire de Lille, Lille, France.
Nemours Children's Hospital, Orlando, FL, USA.
University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
University of California Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA, USA.
4Pharma, Liestal, Switzerland.
Santhera Pharmaceuticals, Liestal, Switzerland.



Cardiorespiratory failure is the leading cause of death in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Based on preclinical and phase 2 evidence, we assessed the efficacy and safety of idebenone in young patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy who were not taking concomitant glucocorticoids.


In a multicentre phase 3 trial in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Sweden, Austria, Italy, Spain, and the USA, patients (age 10-18 years old) with Duchenne muscular dystrophy were randomly assigned in a one-to-one ratio with a central interactive web response system with a permuted block design with four patients per block to receive idebenone (300 mg three times a day) or matching placebo orally for 52 weeks. Study personnel and patients were masked to treatment assignment. The primary endpoint was change in peak expiratory flow (PEF) as percentage predicted (PEF%p) from baseline to week 52, measured with spirometry. Analysis was by intention to treat (ITT) and a modified ITT (mITT), which was prospectively defined to exclude patients with at least 20% difference in the yearly change in PEF%p, measured with hospital-based and weekly home-based spirometry. This study is registered with, number NCT01027884.


31 patients in the idebenone group and 33 in the placebo group comprised the ITT population, and 30 and 27 comprised the mITT population. Idebenone significantly attenuated the fall in PEF%p from baseline to week 52 in the mITT (-3·05%p [95% CI -7·08 to 0·97], p=0·134, vs placebo -9·01%p [-13·18 to -4·84], p=0·0001; difference 5·96%p [0·16 to 11·76], p=0·044) and ITT populations (-2·57%p [-6·68 to 1·54], p=0·215, vs -8·84%p [-12·73 to -4·95], p<0·0001; difference 6·27%p [0·61 to 11·93], p=0·031). Idebenone also had a significant effect on PEF (L/min), weekly home-based PEF, FVC, and FEV1. The effect of idebenone on respiratory function outcomes was similar between patients with previous corticosteroid use and steroid-naive patients. Treatment with idebenone was safe and well tolerated with adverse event rates were similar in both groups. Nasopharyngitis and headache were the most common adverse events (idebenone, eight [25%] and six [19%] of 32 patients; placebo, nine [26%] and seven [21%] of 34 patients). Transient and mild diarrhoea was more common in the idebenone group than in the placebo group (eight [25%] vs four [12%] patients).


Idebenone reduced the loss of respiratory function and represents a new treatment option for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.


Santhera Pharmaceuticals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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