MS-SMART was a clinical trial that tested three different drugs in people with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.


  • Multiple sclerosis

Project type

  • Clinical drug trial

About the project

The MS-SMART trial was a national trial taking place at a number of UK sites including the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic. The study tested the safety and efficacy of three repurposed drugs (used to treat other conditions) in 445 people with secondary progressive MS (SPMS), for which currently there are no treatments. All three drugs had been selected based on promising effects in experimental and pilot human studies.

Participants took amiloride (used to treat heart disease), riluzole (a treatment for motor neurone disease), fluoxetine (used for depression) or a placebo pill for two years. MRI scans and other clinical measures such as walking, eyesight and simple thinking tests were done before and after treatment to test for signs of MS disease progression. Researchers found no clinical effect of the three drugs being tested.

Although the three drugs in the MS-SMART study were not found to be effective, researchers said that the trial has broken new ground and established a benchmark for future trials not only for MS but also other neurodegenerative disorders such as the dementias.



The results were announced in October 2018.

Read our news article: MS SMART - First '3 in 1' MS trial completed


Medical Research Council, the National Institute for Health Research, the MS Society UK and the National MS Society (US).


Efficacy of three neuroprotective drugs in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS-SMART): a phase 2b, multiarm, double-blind, randomised placebo-controlled trial
Chataway J, De Angelis F, Connick P, Parker RA, Plantone D, Doshi A, John N, Stutters J, MacManus D, Prados Carrasco F, Barkhof F, Ourselin S, Braisher M, Ross M, Cranswick G, Pavitt SH, Giovannoni G, Gand
2020 Jan 22 in
Lancet Neurol




Dawn Lyle, Research Project Coordinator