Clinical Trial for Potential MS Treatment: clozapine and risperidone


Professor Anne La Flamme and Dr David Abernethy are conducting a clinical trial to examine the use of two medicines, clozapine and risperidone, for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). Clozapine and risperidone are currently used to treat mental illnesses but have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in the brain and therefore may also be useful for treating MS. At the dose used in patients with mental illnesses, clozapine and risperidone can have a range of side effects, but research performed in Prof La Flamme’s laboratory has shown that a lower dose may be suitable for treating MS.

This trial will assess the safety and acceptability of treatment with a low dose of clozapine or risperidone in patients with secondary progressive MS by comparing their use to people given a placebo (inactive medicine). The study will also look at whether these medicines can reduce the symptoms of MS, and how they might affect the immune system. This information will help determine if one or both of these medicines should be further developed as a treatment for MS. This would be particularly beneficial to people having secondary progressive MS since there are no alternative treatments currently available.


The study is being run in Wellington and is currently looking for participants who:

  • Have secondary progressive multiple sclerosis
  • Are aged 18 – 70 years
  • Have an expanded disability status score of 3.5 to 6.0

Participating in the study will take 7 months with regular visits to Wellington Hospital for monitoring. Participants will be compensated for their time.

For more information download the Participant Information Sheet, which contains much more detail for those who are interested or contact one of the study investigators:


Lead Researchers

Prof Anne La Flamme
School of Biological Sciences
Victoria University of Wellington
and Malaghan Institute of Medical Research

Dr David Abernathy
Head of Neurology, Wellington Regional Hospital
Capital and Coast District Health Board

Liz Goode
Research Nurse
Wellington Regional Hospital
Capital and Coast District Health Board
(04) 806-0078 (office)