BACKGROUND: This trial aimed to determine the efficacy of leucine and/or perindopril in improving physical function in older people with sarcopenia.
METHODS: Placebo-controlled, parallel group, double-blind, randomized two-by-two factorial trial. We recruited adults aged ≥ 70 years with sarcopenia, defined as low gait speed (<0.8 m/s on 4 m walk) and/or low handgrip strength (women < 20 kg, men < 30 kg) plus low muscle mass (using sex and body mass index category-specific thresholds derived from normative UK BioBank data) from 14 UK centres. Eligible participants were randomized to perindopril 4 mg or placebo, and to oral leucine powder 2.5 g or placebo thrice daily. The primary outcome was the between-group difference in the short physical performance battery (SPPB) score over 12-month follow-up by repeated-measures mixed models. Results were combined with existing systematic reviews using random-effects meta-analysis to derive summary estimates of treatment efficacy.
RESULTS: We screened 320 people and randomized 145 participants compared with an original target of 440 participants. For perindopril [n = 73, mean age 79 (SD 6), female sex 39 (53%), mean SPPB 7.1 (SD 2.3)] versus no perindopril [n = 72, mean age 79 (SD 6), female sex 39 (54%), mean SPPB 6.9 (SD 2.4)], median adherence to perindopril was lower (76% vs. 96%; P < 0.001). Perindopril did not improve the primary outcome [adjusted treatment effect -0.1 points (95%CI -1.2 to 1.0), P = 0.89]. No significant treatment benefit was seen for any secondary outcome including muscle mass [adjusted treatment effect -0.4 kg (95%CI -1.1 to 0.3), P = 0.27]. More adverse events occurred in the perindopril group (218 vs. 165), but falls rates were similar. For leucine [n = 72, mean age 78 (SD 6), female sex 38 (53%), mean SPPB 7.0 (SD 2.1)] versus no leucine [n = 72, mean age 79 (SD 6), female sex 40 (55%), mean SPPB 7.0 (SD 2.5)], median adherence was the same in both groups (76% vs. 76%; P = 0.99). Leucine did not improve the primary outcome [adjusted treatment effect 0.1 point (95%CI -1.0 to 1.1), P = 0.90]. No significant treatment benefit was seen for any secondary outcome including muscle mass [adjusted treatment effect -0.3 kg (95%CI -1.0 to 0.4), P = 0.47]. Meta-analysis of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor/angiotensin receptor blocker trials showed no clinically important treatment effect for the SPPB [between-group difference -0.1 points (95%CI -0.4 to 0.2)].
CONCLUSIONS: Neither perindopril nor leucine improved physical performance or muscle mass in this trial; meta-analysis did not find evidence of efficacy of either ACE inhibitors or leucine as treatments to improve physical performance.
Bibliographical note© 2022 The Authors. Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society on Sarcopenia, Cachexia and Wasting Disorders.
- Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor
- Randomized controlled trial