Other names: Rilutek
Riluzole is a glutamate receptor blocker used in the treatment of ALS, a form of motor neurone disease.
Glutamate receptor blockers are aimed at controlling one of the chemicals involved in transmitting messages from nerve cell to nerve cell. Excessive glutamate can lead to the loss of nerve fibres and research is looking at the effects of trying to control this as a way of protecting nerves in people with multiple sclerosis.
A small study involving 16 people with primary progressive MS investigated if the drug would have a neuroprotective effect. The results did not show any definite effect. There was a trend for a reduction in MRI changes but not in clinical measures of disability. A small study in relapsing remitting MS also failed to find an effect on brain volume.
Riluzole 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 riluzole to be effective at protecting nerves from damage.
Last updated: October 2018
Last reviewed: February 2015
This page will be reviewed within three years