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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The efficacy and safety of the neuroprotective drug clomethiazole was tested in a double blind placebo controlled trial in patients with a clinical diagnosis of acute hemispheric stroke. METHODS: Patients with symptom onset of </=12 hours before the start of treatment were included in the study. Clomethiazole (75 mg/kg) or placebo was given as an intravenous infusion over a 24-hour period. Patients were followed up for 90 days. The primary efficacy variable was the proportion of patients reaching relative functional independence (>/=60 points on the Barthel Index) at 90 days. RESULTS: A total of 1360 patients were included. In the main efficacy analysis (n=1353), 56.1% of patients taking clomethiazole and 54.8% of placebo patients reached relative functional independence. The difference was not statistically significant. An analysis of the effect of time since onset of symptoms showed no difference between the treatment groups. Clomethiazole was generally well tolerated and appeared safe in the population studied. Sedation was the most common adverse event, leading to treatment withdrawal that occurred in 15.6% of clomethiazole-treated patients compared with 4.2% of placebo-treated patients. In a subgroup classified before randomization as having total anterior circulation syndrome (TACS) (n=545, or 40% of all randomized patients), the percentage of those reaching relative functional independence was 40.8% on clomethiazole and 29.8% on placebo, a difference of approximately 11 percentage units. TACS patients have clinical symptoms suggesting a "large" stroke. CONCLUSIONS: Clomethiazole had no adverse or beneficial effect on long-term outcome for all patients but produced sedation. The hypothesis that clomethiazole is effective in patients with large strokes will be tested in a further study.


Journal article



Publication Date





21 - 28


Acute Disease, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Brain Ischemia, Cerebrovascular Disorders, Chlormethiazole, Female, Humans, Incidence, Male, Middle Aged, Neuroprotective Agents, Placebos, Survival Analysis