A double-blind, randomized, crossover trial of pemoline in fatigue associated with multiple sclerosis.
Weinshenker BG., Penman M., Bass B., Ebers GC., Rice GP.
Fatigue occurs in a majority of patients with MS and is generally independent of measurable neurologic disability. Few options for treatment are available. We conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial for each of two 4-week treatment periods. Forty-six eligible patients entered and five dropped out due to concurrent exacerbations. Nineteen patients (46.3%) experienced excellent or good relief of fatigue with pemoline, and eight patients (19.5%) with placebo (p = 0.06, Fisher's exact test). One-fourth of patients did not tolerate the drug well, and 7% had to discontinue pemoline during the study due to side effects. The most common side effects were anorexia, irritability, and insomnia. Pemoline may be an effective short-term treatment for fatigue associated with MS, but its adverse effects are not well tolerated by many patients.