The Early Stroke Trial (EST) is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to assess the effect of monosialoganglioside GM-1 in improving recovery in patients who experienced an ischemic supratentorial stroke.
Sixteen clinical centers recruited 805 patients, of whom 792 were confirmed to be eligible. Treatment, consisting of a first dose of either 200 mg GM-1 or placebo, was initiated within 5 hours of the onset of stroke; a second dose of either 100 mg GM-1 or placebo was administered 12 hours later. Thereafter, patients received a daily injection of 100 mg GM-1 or placebo intravenously from day 2 through 10 and intramuscularly from day 11 through 21. Patients were followed up for a total of 4 months.
Survival was similar in the two treatment groups. Improvement in neurological status, as measured by the change in Canadian Neurological Scale score between baseline and 4-month assessments, was greater in the group receiving GM-1; the observed difference between treatment groups was 0.22 (P = .06). A post hoc analysis in the subgroup of patients treated within 4 hours showed a statistically significant difference, with Canadian Neurological Scale mean improvement of 0.41 (P = .016). GM-1 use was not associated with differences in frequency, nature, or severity of adverse experiences.
These findings suggest that GM-1 is safe in the dose and treatment schedule used and that its efficacy in ischemic stroke is greater when given soon after onset of stroke.