Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Encenicline, an α7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Agonist, as a Treatment for Cognitive Impairment in Schizophrenia

July 28, 2015

Authors: Richard S E Keefe, Herbert A Meltzer, Nancy Dgetluck, Maria Gawryl, Gerhard Koenig, Hans J Moebius, Ilise Lombardo, Dana C Hilt

Journal: Neuropsychopharmacology

DOI: 10.1038/npp.2015.176

Year Published: 2015

Encenicline is a novel, selective α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonist in development for treating cognitive impairment in schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. A phase 2, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-design, multinational study was conducted. Patients with schizophrenia on chronic stable atypical antipsychotics were randomized to encenicline 0.27 or 0.9 mg once daily or placebo for 12 weeks. The primary efficacy end point was the Overall Cognition Index (OCI) score from the CogState computerized battery. Secondary end points include MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) (in US patients), the Schizophrenia Cognition Rating Scale (SCoRS) total score, SCoRS global rating, and Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) total and subscale and cognition factor scores. Of 319 randomized patients, 317 were included in the safety population, and 307 were included in the intent-to-treat population. Notable trends in improvement were demonstrated across all cognition scales. For the OCI score, the LS mean difference for encenicline 0.27 mg vs placebo was significant (Cohen’s d=0.257; P=0.034). Mean SCoRS total scores decreased showing improvement in function over time, and the difference was significant for encenicline 0.9 mg vs placebo (P=0.011). Furthermore, the difference between encenicline 0.9 mg and placebo was significant for the PANSS Cognition Impairment Domain (P=0.0098, Cohen’s d=0.40) and for the PANSS Negative scale (P=0.028, Cohen’s d=0.33). Treatment-emergent adverse events were reported at similar frequencies across all treatment groups (39.0% with placebo, 23.4% with encenicline 0.27 mg, and 33.3% with encenicline 0.9 mg). Overall, encenicline was generally well tolerated and demonstrated clinically meaningful improvements in cognition and function in patients with schizophrenia.

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