ICTUS Study: International Citicoline Trial on Acute Stroke "ICTUS"


Phase 3 Results N/A

Trial Description

Citicoline is a safe drug approved in some countries for the treatment of acute ischemic stroke. The drug has shown some evidence of efficacy in a pooled analysis, based on four clinical trials done in USA with oral citicoline.The purpose of the study is confirm the results obtained in the pooled analysis, that is, evidence of efficacy in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke

Detailed Description

The stroke or brain attack is one of the main health problems in developed countries. It is the third cause for death and the main cause of disability in adults. Cerebral infarction makes up 80 % of all the types of strokes.
After a stroke, different evolutions and outcomes can be observed, and there are several factors that may influence the outcome, such as age, cognitive impairment, and psycho-social factors. The most important prognostic factors for acute ischemic stroke are the volume of the cerebral infarction and the severity of the baseline neurological deficit.
In recent years, stroke has been considered a real medical emergency, and for this reason several clinical trials have been conducted to find effective therapies. Among pharmacological therapies, there are two possible ways to treat ischemic strokes: treatments directed to recanalize the occluded artery, such as thrombolysis, and the neuroprotective drugs.
None of the neuroprotective drugs have attained the international approval for this indication. Among the reasons for the failures obtained with the different drugs tested, we must highlight the problems derived from the toxicity of the drugs and from the evaluation criteria, as well as the therapeutic window used.
To evaluate a drug in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke, one must be very careful when defining the schedule of the clinical trial, and which variable or variables may be considered as primary endpoints. Several endpoints have been used in the different clinical trials developed, although the most used are those referring to the functional status and the degree of disability of the patients, normally set at 3 months after the stroke.
After the onset of an ischemic stroke in the brain, there is a cascade of events that are responsible for neuronal disruption, neuronal membrane breakdown and/or neuronal apoptosis, specifically in the penumbra area. Therapies acting by blocking the ischemic cascade, at least partially, and/or stabilizing neuronal membranes are believed to be beneficial protecting the brain from the progressive effects of ischemia. Among the neuroprotective drugs, there is a new class of drugs, of which the main representative is citicoline. Citicoline monosodium is an exogenous form of CDP-Choline, which is essential for the biosynthesis of membrane phospholipids. The mechanisms of action of citicoline include the stimulation of the biosynthesis of phospholipids of the neuronal membrane, the inhibition of the activity of some phospholipases, the restoration of some enzymatic activities bound to neuronal membranes, and the elevation of brain levels of some catecholamines.
The previous clinical trials performed with citicoline were no conclusive, with some positive results. In all these studies, citicoline was found to have a similar safety profile as compared with placebo.
The variety of outcomes and results of the different trials made it difficult to arrive at a consensus on the efficacy of the drug. That is the reason why a Pooling Data Analysis using updated individual patient data was done, with the main objective to determine the effects of citicoline on the improvement, functional and neurological, of patients with acute ischemic stroke treated with different doses of citicoline for 6 weeks and with a follow-up period of 6 weeks. The results obtained in this Pooling Data Analysis showed that the odds ratio of achieving a complete recovery was 33 % higher in citicoline-treated patients than in placebo-treated patients, with the best response obtained with the dose of 2000 mg/d/6 weeks.
The primary objective of this study is to determine the effects on recovery at 3 months of oral citicoline 2000 mg/d/6 weeks, after 6 weeks of treatment and 6 weeks of follow-up, in patients with moderate-to-severe acute ischemic strokes (baseline NIHSS equal or higher than 8) in comparison with placebo.

Trial Stopped: With 2078 patients, a statistical stopping boundary has now been crossed



  • Citicoline (CerAxon®)Drug
    Other Names: CDP-choline
    Intervention Desc: 1g/12h iv during 3 days and then orally until complete 6 weeks of treatment
    ARM 1: Kind: Experimental
    Label: Active
    Description: Receives active drug
  • Placebo Drug
    Intervention Desc: As active drug
    ARM 1: Kind: Experimental
    Label: Placebo
    Description: Receives a placebo

Trial Design

  • Allocation: Randomized
  • Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
  • Purpose: Treatment
  • Endpoint: Safety/Efficacy Study
  • Intervention: Parallel Assignment

Patient Involvement

Patients will be randomized in a 1:1 ratio to receive either citicoline or placebo. Citicoline forms: 1000 mg ampoules (4 cc) and 500 mg tablets. Daily dosage: 1000 mg/12 h i.v. during the first three days and orally from the fourth day until the end of the 6 weeks treatment period.


Type Measure Time Frame Safety Issue
Primary Recovery at 3 months will be evaluated using a primary end-point incorporating 3 components: neurological (NIHSS) ? 1), disability (MRS ? 1), and activities of daily life (BI ? 95), averaged using GEE.
Secondary Single scales at week 12.
Primary Total recovery at three months of onset, based on a global test analysis including NIHSS, mRS and Barthel Index 3 months No
Secondary mRS at 3 months 3 months No
Secondary Barthel Index at 3 months 3 months No
Secondary Safety and tolerability 3 months Yes