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Mavoglurant Augmentation in OCD Patients Resistant to Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors: A Proof-of-Concept, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Phase 2 Study



To determine if mavoglurant (modified release) as an augmentation therapy to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) could have beneficial effects reducing Yale–Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) total score in patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) resistant to SSRI treatment.


This was a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, phase 2 study. Patients remained on their SSRI treatment and mavoglurant or placebo was added on. Non-smoking men and women aged 18–65 years primarily diagnosed with OCD according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., text rev.; DSM-IV-TR) criteria were randomized (1:1) to mavoglurant or placebo groups. After 50 patients were randomized, an interim analysis was conducted to determine whether the study should be continued. The primary outcome measure was absolute change in Y-BOCS from baseline at week 17. Safety was assessed by recording adverse events (AEs) and serious adverse events (SAEs).


Interim analysis led to a decision to terminate the study. In total 38 (76.0%) participants completed 17 weeks of treatment and 37 (74.0%) completed the study. There was no significant difference in least squares (LS) mean change from baseline at week 17 in Y-BOCS total score for mavoglurant compared with placebo groups [−6.9 (1.75) vs. −8.0 (1.78), respectively; LS mean difference 1.1; 95% CI −3.9, 6.2; p = 0.671]. The incidence of AEs was higher in the mavoglurant compared with the placebo group (80.8% vs. 70.8%, respectively).


This study of mavoglurant in OCD was terminated because of the lack of efficacy at interim analysis. The study did not support the use of an antagonist of mGluR5 receptors for OCD treatment.

Trial Registration

The study was registered with NCT01813019.


This study was sponsored by Novartis Pharma AG, Basel, Switzerland.

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This study was sponsored by Novartis Pharma AG, Basel, Switzerland. The article processing charges for this publication were funded by Novartis Pharma AG. The authors thank Ritu Hans and K Ananda Krishna from Novartis Healthcare Pvt Ltd, Hyderabad, India, for medical writing assistance and incorporating subsequent revisions. All named authors meet the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICJME) criteria for authorship for this manuscript, take responsibility for the integrity of the work as a whole, and have given final approval to the version to be published.


Daniel Rutrick has no disclosures or conflicts of interests to report. Maurizio Fava has received research support from Abbot Laboratories; Alkermes, Inc.; American Cyanamid; Aspect Medical Systems; AstraZeneca; Avanir Pharmaceuticals; BioResearch; BrainCells Inc.; Bristol-Myers Squibb; CeNeRx BioPharma; Cephalon; Cerecor; Clintara, LLC; Covance; Covidien; Eli Lilly and Company; EnVivo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Euthymics Bioscience, Inc.; Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; FORUM Pharmaceuticals; Ganeden Biotech, Inc.; GlaxoSmithKline; Harvard Clinical Research Institute; Hoffman-LaRoche; Icon Clinical Research; i3 Innovus/Ingenix; Janssen R&D, LLC; Jed Foundation; Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development; Lichtwer Pharma GmbH; Lorex Pharmaceuticals; Lundbeck Inc.; MedAvante; Methylation Sciences Inc; National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia & Depression (NARSAD); National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM); National Coordinating Center for Integrated Medicine (NiiCM); National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA); National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH); Neuralstem, Inc.; Novartis AG; Organon Pharmaceuticals; PamLab, LLC; Pfizer Inc.; Pharmacia-Upjohn; Pharmaceutical Research Associates., Inc.; Pharmavite® LLC; PharmoRx Therapeutics; Photothera; Reckitt Benckiser; Roche Pharmaceuticals; RCT Logic, LLC (formerly Clinical Trials Solutions, LLC); Sanofi-Aventis US LLC; Shire; Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI); Synthelabo; Takeda Pharmaceuticals; Tal Medical; Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories. Dr. Fava has served as an advisor or consultant to Abbott Laboratories; Acadia; Affectis Pharmaceuticals AG; Alkermes, Inc.; Amarin Pharma Inc.; Aspect Medical Systems; AstraZeneca; Auspex Pharmaceuticals; Avanir Pharmaceuticals; AXSOME Therapeutics; Bayer AG; Best Practice Project Management, Inc.; Biogen; BioMarin Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Biovail Corporation; BrainCells Inc; Bristol-Myers Squibb; CeNeRx BioPharma; Cephalon, Inc.; Cerecor; CNS Response, Inc.; Compellis Pharmaceuticals; Cypress Pharmaceutical, Inc.; DiagnoSearch Life Sciences (P) Ltd.; Dinippon Sumitomo Pharma Co. Inc.; Dov Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Edgemont Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Eisai Inc.; Eli Lilly and Company; EnVivo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; ePharmaSolutions; EPIX Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Euthymics Bioscience, Inc.; Fabre-Kramer Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Forum Pharmaceuticals; GenOmind, LLC; GlaxoSmithKline; Grunenthal GmbH; i3 Innovus/Ingenis; Intracellular; Janssen Pharmaceutica; Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, LLC; Knoll Pharmaceuticals Corp.; Labopharm Inc.; Lorex Pharmaceuticals; Lundbeck Inc.; MedAvante, Inc.; Merck & Co., Inc.; MSI Methylation Sciences, Inc.; Naurex, Inc.; Nestle Health Sciences; Neuralstem, Inc.; Neuronetics, Inc.; NextWave Pharmaceuticals; Novartis AG; Nutrition 21; Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc.; Organon Pharmaceuticals; Osmotica; Otsuka Pharmaceuticals; Pamlab, LLC; Pfizer Inc.; PharmaStar; Pharmavite® LLC; PharmoRx Therapeutics; Precision Human Biolaboratory; Prexa Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; PPD; Puretech Ventures; PsychoGenics; Psylin Neurosciences, Inc.; RCT Logic, LLC (formerly Clinical Trials Solutions, LLC); Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Ridge Diagnostics, Inc.; Roche; Sanofi-Aventis US LLC; Sepracor Inc.; Servier Laboratories; Schering-Plough Corporation; Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Somaxon Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Somerset Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Sunovion Pharmaceuticals; Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Synthelabo; Taisho Pharmaceutical; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited; Tal Medical, Inc.; Tetragenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; TransForm Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Transcept Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; VistaGen. Dr. Fava has had speaking or publishing roles for Adamed, Co; Advanced Meeting Partners; American Psychiatric Association; American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology; AstraZeneca; Belvoir Media Group; Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH; Bristol-Myers Squibb; Cephalon, Inc.; CME Institute/Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.; Eli Lilly and Company; Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; GlaxoSmithKline; Imedex, LLC; MGH Psychiatry Academy/Primedia; MGH Psychiatry Academy/Reed Elsevier; Novartis AG; Organon Pharmaceuticals; Pfizer Inc.; PharmaStar; United BioSource, Corp.; Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories. Dr. Fava had equity holdings in Compellis; PsyBrain, Inc. He is named on patents for Sequential Parallel Comparison Design (SPCD), licensed by MGH to Pharmaceutical Product Development, LLC (PPD); and a patent application for a combination of ketamine plus scopolamine in major depressive disorder (MDD), licensed by MGH to Biohaven. Dr. Fava is a copyright holder for the MGH Cognitive & Physical Functioning Questionnaire (CPFQ), Sexual Functioning Inventory (SFI), Antidepressant Treatment Response Questionnaire (ATRQ), Discontinuation-Emergent Signs & Symptoms (DESS), Symptoms of Depression Questionnaire (SDQ), and SAFER; Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins; Wolkers Kluwer; World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd. Gregor Hasler has received speaker, travel, and consultancy honoraria from Lundbeck, Eli Lilly, Takeda, Servier, AstraZeneca, and Sandoz. He received research grants from National Science Foundation Switzerland, OPO Foundation, Zurich, NARSAD, Novartis, Bangerter Foundation, Basel, Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation, Bern, Helene Bieber Foundation, Zurich, Vontobel Foundation, Zurich, Hermann Foundation, Zurich, Foundation for Scientific Research, Zurich University, Zurich, Switzerland. Dan J. Stein, in the past 3 years, has received research grants and/or consultancy honoraria from AMBRF, Biocodex, Cipla, Lundbeck, National Responsible Gambling Foundation, Novartis, Servier, and Sun. Toni Donchev has no competing interests to declare. Donald Johns was an employee and shareholder of Novartis at the time of this study. He is currently an employee and shareholder of Biogen. Ganesan Subramanian is an employee and/or shareholder of Novartis. Brian Smith is an employee and/or shareholder of Novartis. Jang-Ho Cha is an employee and/or shareholder of Novartis. Fabrizio Gasparini is an employee and/or shareholder of Novartis. Magdalena Ocwieja is an employee and/or shareholder of Novartis. Baltazar Gomez-Mancilla is an employee and/or shareholder of Novartis.

Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

The study was conducted according to the ethical principles of the Declaration of Helsinki of 1964, as revised in 2008. The study protocol and all amendments were reviewed by the independent ethics committee and institutional review board for each center, and informed consent was obtained from all patients prior to being included in the study.

Data Availability

The datasets analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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Correspondence to Baltazar Gomez-Mancilla.

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Rutrick, D., Stein, D.J., Subramanian, G. et al. Mavoglurant Augmentation in OCD Patients Resistant to Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors: A Proof-of-Concept, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Phase 2 Study. Adv Ther 34, 524–541 (2017).

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  • AFQ056
  • Glutamate
  • Mavoglurant
  • Obsessive–compulsive disorder
  • Psychiatry
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors