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Spinal Cord. 2016 Jan;54(1):8-15. doi: 10.1038/sc.2015.95. Epub 2015 Jun 23.

Rationale, design and critical end points for the Riluzole in Acute Spinal Cord Injury Study (RISCIS): a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled parallel multi-center trial.

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Division of Neurosurgery and Spinal Program, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.
Department of Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Houston, Houston, TX, USA.
Department of Neurosurgery, Houston Methodist Hospital,Houston,TX,USA.
Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.



Riluzole is a sodium channel-blocking agent used in treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Canadian and Australian authorities, and in many other countries. A phase I trial of riluzole for acute spinal cord injury (SCI) provided safety and pharmacokinetic data and suggested neuroprotective benefits. A phase IIB/III double-blinded randomized controlled trial (RCT) started in January 2014 (, NCT01597518). This article describes the pathophysiological rationale, preclinical experience and design of the phase IIB/III RCT of Riluzole in Acute Spinal Cord Injury Study (RISCIS).


The primary objective of the trial is to evaluate the superiority of riluzole, at a dose of 100 mg BID in the first 24 h followed by 50 mg BID for the following 13 days post injury, compared with placebo in improving neurological motor outcomes in patients with C4-C8 level, International Standards for Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury Examination (ISNCSCI) grade A, B or C acute (within 12 h post injury) SCI.


Acute trauma centers worldwideMethods:A double-blind, multi-center, placebo-controlled RCT will enroll 351 participants randomized 1:1 to riluzole and placebo. The primary end point is the change between 180 days and baseline in ISNCSCI Motor Score. This study has 90% power to detect a change of nine points in ISNCSCI Motor Score at one-sided α=0.025.


Currently enrolling in 11 centers.


This study will provide class I evidence regarding the safety and neuroprotective efficacy of riluzole in patients with acute cervical SCI.

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