Branched-chain amino acids and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: A treatment failure?

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Article abstract

We initiated a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to test the efficacy and safety of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) (L-leucine 12 g, L-isoleucine 6 g, and L-valine 6 g daily) in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients. There was an excess mortality in subjects randomized to active treatment (24 BCAA, 13 placebo) when a total of 126 ALS patients had been recruited. This finding, associated with the lack of efficacy of BCAA (measured by comparing the disability scales in the two treatment groups), led the Data Monitoring Committee to require cessation of the trial.

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