Efficacy and Safety of Iota-Carrageenan Nasal Spray Versus Placebo in Early Treatment of the Common Cold in Adults

The ICICC Trial

R. Eccles; B. Winther; S.L. Johnston; P. Robinson; M. Trampisch; S. Koelsch


Respiratory Research. 2015;16(121) 

In This Article


Iota-carrageenan (I-C) is active against respiratory viruses in vitro and was effective as nasal spray in three previous clinical trials. The current trial served to further investigate I-C in patients with early common cold symptoms.

Methods: This randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind phase IV trial was conducted in 200 adult patients with self-diagnosed colds of <48 h' duration that were confirmed by baseline cold symptom scores. Patients were to self-administer 0.12 % I-C or placebo spray (NaCl 0.5 %) four times daily for four to ten days and record symptom information for ten days. Common respiratory viruses were quantified by RT-PCR during pretreatment and on Day 3 or 4. The primary endpoint was the mean total symptom score (TSS) of eight cold symptoms on Days 2–4 (TSS2–4).

Results: Patients in both treatment groups had similar baseline TSSs (mean TSS: 6.75 for I-C and 6.79 for placebo). Viruses were detected in baseline samples from 53 of 98 I-C patients (54.1 %) and 54 of 97 placebo patients (55.7 %). Mean ± SE for TSS2–4 was 5.78 ± 0.25 for I-C patients and 6.39 ± 0.25 for placebo (p = 0.0895). Exploratory analyses after unblinding (TSS2–4 excluding a patient with aberrantly high symptom scores [TSS2–4, ex 1pt ]; mean of TSS over Days 1–4 [TSS1–4 ]; change in TSS1–4 relative to baseline [TSS1–4, rel ]) demonstrated treatment differences in favor of I-C (p = 0.0364, p = 0.0495 and p = 0.0421, respectively). For patients with quantifiable rhinovirus/enterovirus at baseline, there was a trend towards greater reduction of virus load at Day 3 or 4 (p = 0.0958; I-C: 90.2 % reduction in viral load; placebo: 72.0 %). Treatments were well tolerated with no differences in adverse event rates.

Conclusions: The primary endpoint did not demonstrate a statistically significant difference between I-C and placebo but showed a trend towards I-C benefit. Exploratory analyses indicated significant reduction of cold symptoms in the I-C group relative to placebo during the first four days when symptoms were most severe, and also substantiated I-C's activity against rhinovirus/enterovirus.