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Background and Objectives

Vamorolone is a dissociative agonist of the glucocorticoid receptor that has shown similar efficacy and reduced safety concerns in comparison with prednisone in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). This study was conducted to determine the efficacy and safety of vamorolone over 48 weeks and to study crossover participants (prednisone to vamorolone; placebo to vamorolone).


A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled and prednisone-controlled clinical trial of 2 doses of vamorolone was conducted in participants with DMD, in the ages from 4 years to younger than 7 years at baseline. The interventions were 2 mg/kg/d of vamorolone and 6 mg/kg/d of vamorolone for 48 weeks (period 1: 24 weeks + period 2: 24 weeks) and 0.75 mg/kg/d of prednisone and placebo for the first 24 weeks (before crossover). Efficacy was evaluated through gross motor outcomes and safety through adverse events, growth velocity, body mass index (BMI), and bone turnover biomarkers. This analysis focused on period 2.


A total of 121 participants with DMD were randomized. Vamorolone at a dose of 6 mg/kg/d showed maintenance of improvement for all motor outcomes to week 48 (e.g., for primary outcome, time to stand from supine [TTSTAND] velocity, week 24 least squares mean [LSM] [SE] 0.052 [0.0130] rises/s vs week 48 LSM [SE] 0.0446 [0.0138]). After 48 weeks, vamorolone at a dose of 2 mg/kg/d showed similar improvements as 6 mg/kg/d for North Star Ambulatory Assessment (NSAA) (vamorolone 6 mg/kg/d–vamorolone 2 mg/kg/d LSM [SE] 0.49 [1.14]; 95% CI −1.80 to 2.78, p = 0.67), but less improvement for other motor outcomes. The placebo to vamorolone 6 mg/kg/d group showed rapid improvements after 20 weeks of treatment approaching benefit seen with 48-week 6 mg/kg/d of vamorolone treatment for TTSTAND, time to run/walk 10 m, and NSAA. There was significant improvement in linear growth after crossover in the prednisone to vamorolone 6 mg/kg/d group, and rapid reversal of prednisone-induced decline in bone turnover biomarkers in both crossover groups. There was an increase in BMI after 24 weeks of treatment that then stabilized for both vamorolone groups.


Improvements of motor outcomes seen with 6 mg/kg/d of vamorolone at 24 weeks of treatment were maintained to 48 weeks of treatment. Vamorolone at a dose of 6 mg/kg/d showed better maintenance of effect compared with vamorolone at a dose of 2 mg/kg/d for most (3/5) motor outcomes. Bone morbidities of prednisone (stunting of growth and declines in serum bone biomarkers) were reversed when treatment transitioned to vamorolone.

Trial Registration Information Identifier: NCT03439670.

Classification of Evidence

This study provides Class I evidence that for boys with DMD, the efficacy of vamorolone at a dose of 6 mg/kg/d was maintained over 48 weeks.

Publisher Attribution

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND), which permits downloading and sharing the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal. This article was originally published in Neurology® Volume 102, Number 5 .