Quinacrine in possible or probable CJDBMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7331.239 (Published 26 January 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:239
If you had suspected CJD would you be indifferent between placebo and quinacrine?
- David Braunholtz, senior research fellow (D.A.Braunholtz@Bham.ac.uk),
- Judith Harris, research associate
- Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT
- Newham General Hospital, London E13 8SL
EDITOR—After the apparent recovery of a patient with suspected variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease when she was treated with quinacrine, the Department of Health is reported as planning a clinical trial to evaluate the drug's effectiveness as a potential treatment for the disease.1 Should an ethics committee approve such a trial?
There is clearly considerable uncertainty about the effect of quinacrine in variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and other prion diseases,2 but we find it almost inconceivable that a rational patient with suspected prion disease would be in equipoise—that is, indifferent—between quinacrine and placebo. The side effects of quinacrine are well known and are comparatively minor over a wide dose range; the drug …