Riluzole Augmentation in Treatment-refractory Obsessive-compulsive Disorder


Obsessive-compulsive Disorder | Ocd

Trial Phase

Phase 2

Trial Purpose and Description

Trial Purpose

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) affects 2-3% of the population and leads to a great deal of suffering. Many patients benefit from established treatments, the mainstay of which are cognitive behavioral therapy and a group of antidepressant medications known as serotonin reuptake inhibitors. However, 20-30% of patients get minimal benefit from these established therapeutic strategies. New avenues of treatment are urgently needed.

Existing medications for obsessive-compulsive disorder affect the neurotransmitters serotonin or dopamine; but increasing evidence suggests that functional disruptions of a different neurotransmitter, glutamate, may contribute to some cases of OCD. The investigators are therefore interested in using medications that target glutamate as novel treatment options for those OCD patients who do not benefit from established treatments.

One such medication is the drug riluzole, which is FDA approved for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, but may be of benefit to patients with psychiatric disorders due to its ability to moderate excessive glutamate. In preliminary studies, in which the investigators treated patients with riluzole (in addition to their established pharmacological regimen) in an open-label fashion (that is, without a placebo-treated control group), the investigators have found about 40-50% of patients to substantially improve over 2-3 months.

While immensely promising, these preliminary studies do not prove riluzole is truly a new beneficial medication for the treatment of OCD; a more rigorous placebo-controlled trial is needed for that purpose. The investigators are therefore now recruiting patients to participate in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of riluzole, added to whatever other OCD medications they are taking.

Participation Guidelines

18 Years - 65 Years

Eligibility Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • DSM-IV diagnosis of OCD, confirmed by SCID-IV; symptoms of at least 1 year duration
  • moderate to severe OCD symptoms (Y-BOCS >; 16)
  • documented failure of an adequate trial of an SSRI
  • agreement to engage in a reliable form of birth control (women only)

Exclusion Criteria:

  • primary diagnosis of a psychotic disorder
  • active substance abuse or dependence
  • unstable medical condition
  • prior exposure to riluzole
  • prior psychosurgery
  • pregnancy, breastfeeding, or intent to become pregnant during study
  • liver function tests (LFTs) elevated to more than 2x the upper limit of normal
  • evidence of active liver disease
  • seizure disorder
  • active suicidal ideation
Yale University
September 2006
Last Updated:
July 23, 2014
Study HIC#:
0509000614 ID: NCT00523718