Nuclear Factor Kappa Beta Inhibition in Patients With Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Phase II Randomized Placebo Controlled Trial

Study Purpose:

This is a Phase II, single centre, randomized, parallel, double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to determine the safety of Withania somnifera in participants with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Study Status:




Study Type:


Type of Intervention:


Intervention Name:

Withania somnifera, Placebo




Phase 2

Study Chair(s)/Principal Investigator(s):

Agessandro Abrahao, MD, MSc, Sunnybrook Research Institute, University of Toronto, Lorne Zinman, MD, MSc, Sunnybrook Research Institute, University of Toronto ID:


Neals Affiliated?


Coordinating Center Contact Information

Jake Wimmer / email hidden; JavaScript is required / 416-480-6100

Full Study Summary:

There will be up to 75 participants randomized 1:1:1 to receive either high dosage Withania somnifera extract (1088 mg daily), medium dosage Withania somnifera extract (544 mg daily) or matching placebo. The study will consist of a Screening Period, Randomization visit, Baseline visit, and Follow-up visits. The treatment period will be 8 weeks and a final follow up call will occur at Week 9.

Study Sponsor:

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Estimated Enrollment:


Estimated Study Start Date:

10 / 19 / 2021

Estimated Study Completion Date:

09 / 01 / 2022

Posting Last Modified Date:

06 / 06 / 2022

Date Study Added to

09 / 01 / 2021

Minimum Age:

18 Years

Maximum Age:


Inclusion Criteria:

- Diagnosed with laboratory supported probable, clinically possible, probable or definite ALS according to the World Federation of Neurology Revised El Escorial criteria (83) (Appendix A)

- Disease duration from symptom onset no greater than 36 months at the Screening Visit

- Aged 18 years or older

- Capable of providing informed consent and complying with study procedures

- If taking riluzole, on a stable dose for at least 30 days prior to Screening Visit

- If taking edaravone, on a stable dose for at least one cycle prior to Screening Visit

- If on BiPAP, average usage of no more than 12 hours per day at time of Screening Visit

- Able to swallow a capsule at Baseline Visit

- Fluency in English or French

Exclusion Criteria:

- Exposure to any investigational agent or Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) within 30 days prior to the Screening Visit; simultaneous participation in other observational studies is allowed upon Site Investigator approval

- Presence of any of the following clinical conditions:

1. Substance abuse within the past year

2. Unstable cardiac, pulmonary, renal, hepatic, endocrine, hematologic, or active malignancy or infectious disease

3. Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) or AIDS-related complex

4. Unstable psychiatric illness defined as psychosis (hallucinations or delusions) or untreated major depression within 90 days prior to the Screening Visit

- Hypersensitivity or allergy to Withania somnifera

- Uncontrolled diabetes with severe associated complications (such as neuropathy)

- Untreated hypertension, active stomach ulcers, or untreated thyroid disorder

- Previously diagnosed auto-immune condition with or without neurological manifestations (e.g. multiple sclerosis (MS), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis, etc.)

- Current or planned use of oral, intramuscular or intravenous steroid drugs (such as prednisone, prednisolone, dexamethasone, triamcinolone, methylprednisolone, oxandrolone, and others) or immunosuppressant drugs (azathioprine, mycophenolate, tacrolimus, sirolimus, cyclophosphamide, and others) for more than 7 days

- Planned consumption of alcohol, other drugs or natural health products with sedative and anxiolytics properties while taking study drugs (8 week duration)

- Current or planned use of continuous subcutaneous, intravenous or oral anticoagulant drugs

- Scheduled for surgery under general anesthetic within 14 days of Screening Visit

- Pregnancy or planned pregnancy. Women of childbearing potential must have a negative pregnancy test and be non-lactating at the Screening Visit

- Insertion of a diaphragm pacing system

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre | Recruiting

Lorne Zinman / email hidden; JavaScript is required

Agessandro Abrahao / email hidden; JavaScript is required

Toronto, Ontario M4N 3M5