Amiloride is a drug used in the treatment of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Early research suggested that the drug may have a neuroprotective effect in multiple sclerosis by reducing the levels of calcium and sodium that were able to pass through the nerve cell membrane and damage the axons.
Results of a pilot study in 12 people with primary progressive MS were reported in 2013. Although the numbers involved in the trial were too small to make definitive conclusions, participants experienced less damage to nerves, loss of brain volume and a slower change in EDSS whilst taking the drug than in the year before treatment.
Amiloride was one of three drugs being studied by the phase II MS-SMART trial, which involved 440 people with secondary progressive MS. Results didn't find amiloride to be effective at protecting nerves from damage.
- Nature Medicine 2007;13(12):1483-1489. Summary Acid-sensing ion channel-1 contributes to axonal degeneration in autoimmune inflammation of the central nervous system.
- Brain 2013;136(1):106-115. Summary Targeting ASIC1 in primary progressive multiple sclerosis: evidence of neuroprotection with amiloride.