Sodium benzoate was ineffective for the treatment of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, according to a 6-week, randomized controlled trial published in Journal of Psychopharmacology.
In a previous study, sodium benzoate, a D-amino acid oxidase (DAAO) inhibitor, improved cognitive function of patients with early-phase Alzheimer’s disease, without behavioral and psychological symptoms, after 24 weeks of treatment, Chieh-Hsin Lin, MD, from the department of psychiatry at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan, and colleagues wrote.
In this study, 97 patients with dementia-related behavioral and psychological symptoms were to receive placebo or sodium benzoate (average dosage: 622 mg per day).
Researchers examined change on the Alzheimer’s disease assessment scale-cognitive subscale (ADAS-cog) from baseline to week 6 and Behavioral Pathology in Alzheimer’s Disease Rating Scale (BEHAVE-AD) measured (primary outcomes). Secondary outcomes were measured using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory, Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, Zarit Caregiver Burden Interview and the Geriatric Depression Scale.
Overall, 84 patients completed the trial. After treatment, patients who received sodium benzoate and those who received placebo had similar scores for both primary outcomes (ADAS-cog: P = .492 and BEHAVE-AD: P = .0059), according to the results. Furthermore, the baseline scores and those after 6 weeks of treatment were similar between the two groups for all secondary outcomes.
Sodium benzoate was well-tolerated, with one benzoate recipient reporting mild and brief polyuria and one who received placebo reporting moderate tension sensation. Laboratory parameters remained unchanged within the normal ranges after treatment, the study revealed.
“Benzoate and placebo showed similar efficacy and safety in the current trial, while benzoate benefited early-phase [Alzheimer's disease],” the researchers wrote.
Unlike the previous 24-week trial, the course of benzoate treatment was shorter and offered at a lower dose in this 6-week trial, which could have contributed to the negative findings, Lin and colleagues explained.
“Longer-duration, higher-dose clinical trials are necessary to determine the efficacy and safety of benzoate treatment for ,” they concluded. – by Savannah Demko
Disclosure: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.