- Route of administration: Oral
- Type: Statin
- Emerging treatment for: Progressive MS
- Status: Phase II trial completed. Phase III trial planned.
Simvastatin is a cholesterol-lowering drug used for treatment of vascular disease. The use of simvastatin in treating MS is an example of drug repurposing, a process in which a commercially available drug is evaluated for the treatment of a different condition
Recent research shows that simvastatin can reduce inflammation and block immune cells from travelling into the central nervous system in mice.
MS-STAT, a phase II clinical trial, examined the effect of high dose simvastatin in progressive MS patients over two years. Patients were administered 80mg simvastatin/day or were administered a placebo (inactive version of the drug). Patients administered simvastatin showed a significant reduction in brain atrophy, slower changes in EDSS, and improved scores on the MSIS-29, a measure of the extent to which MS affects daily life. The occurrence of serious adverse events was similar between simvastatin and placebo groups, and simvastatin was well tolerated with no safety concerns. The results of this phase II demonstrate that simvastatin is safe and has a beneficial effect on brain atrophy and disability in people with secondary progressive MS. These results are encouraging and warrant phase III trials to determine the safety and efficacy of simvastatin on a larger group of people with MS as well as when taken over a longer term.