Riluzole Study

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women with ~250,000 new cases diagnosed in the US each year.1-4 Many of these breast cancer patients report symptoms of fatigue, poor brain function and decreased motivation both during and after treatment. Mounting data suggests increased inflammation may play a role in causing these symptoms.5-8 There are a number of theories as to how inflammation may influence fatigue and cognitive function in breast cancer patients. One possible contributing factor is the increase in the chemical messenger, glutamate, resulting from overactive inflammation. While glutamate is key to normal brain function, too much glutamate can be harmful and exhausting to the nerve cells in the brain.12-13

The purpose of this study is to see if an FDA approved medication called riluzole will correct the glutamate imbalance in the brain and help protect the nerves in the brain from harm. In addition, we anticipate that balancing glutamate will reduce fatigue and cognitive difficulties in breast cancer survivors. Participants in this study will be given riluzole or placebo (sugar pill), which will be taken by mouth daily for 8 weeks. We will study how increased inflammation impacts the brain’s chemical messengers and function using MRI scans, blood measurements, cognitive/emotional testing, and self-report questionnaires. If successful, this study could help improve the management of behavioral difficulties faced by breast cancer patients and survivors and improve their quality of life.

Participation in this study involves:
– Intervention with riluzole or placebo
– MRI and MRS scans
– Blood draw(s)
– Questionnaires
– Compensation for time and effort
  We are currently looking for breast cancer patients to enroll in this study

For more information on this study please click on

If you are interested in participating in this study please call us at 404-727-8229 or fill out this online form.



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7.Musselman DL, Lawson DH, Gumnick JF, Manatunga AK, Penna S, Goodkin RS, Greiner K, Nemeroff CB, Miller AH. Paroxetine for the prevention of depression induced by high-dose interferon alfa. N Engl J Med. 2001;344(13):961-6.
8.Bower JE, Ganz PA, Aziz N, Fahey JL. Fatigue and proinflammatory cytokine activity in breast cancer survivors. Psychosomatic medicine. 2002;64(4):604-11.
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13.Miller AH. Conceptual confluence: the kynurenine pathway as a common target for ketamine and the convergence of the inflammation and glutamate hypotheses of depression. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2013;38(9):1607-8. PMCID: 3717552.