A Phase 3 Trial of IV Immunoglobulin for Alzheimer Disease Failed
Objective: We tested biweekly infusions of IV immunoglobulin (IVIg) as a possible treatment for mild to moderate Alzheimer disease (AD) dementia.
Methods: In a phase 3, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, we randomly assigned 390 participants with mild to moderate AD to receive placebo (low-dose albumin) or IVIg (Gammagard Liquid; Baxalta, Bannockburn, IL) administered IV at doses of 0.2 or 0.4 g/kg every 2 weeks for 18 months. The primary cognitive outcome was change from baseline to 18 months on the 11-item cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale; the primary functional outcome was 18-month change on the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study–Activities of Daily Living Inventory. Safety and tolerability data, as well as serial MRIs and plasma samples, were collected throughout the study from all enrolled participants.
Results: No beneficial effects were observed in the dual primary outcome measures for the 2 IVIg doses tested. Significant decreases in plasma Aβ42 (but not Aβ40) levels were observed in IVIg-treated participants. Analysis of safety data showed no difference between IVIg and placebo in terms of the rate of occurrence of amyloid-related imaging abnormalities (brain edema or microhemorrhage). IVIg-treated participants had more systemic reactions (chills, rashes) but fewer respiratory infections than participants receiving placebo.
Conclusions: Participants with mild to moderate AD showed good tolerability of treatment with low-dose human IVIg for 18 months but did not show beneficial effects on cognition or function relative to participants who received placebo.