Early therapy delays progression to clinically definite multiple sclerosis

mdCurrent Conference Report: 64th American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting

Data from 2 major phase 3 trials have demonstrated that progression to clinically definite multiple sclerosis (MS) can be prevented or delayed with early rather than delayed therapy. Two regimens of subcutaneous interferon beta-1a (IFNb) were evaluated in patients who had a demyelinating event consistent with increased risk of an eventual MS diagnosis.

Key Point: Multiple sclerosis may be delayed or avoided altogether if disease modifying therapies are introduced after a demyelinating event. Interferon beta-1a dosed both 2x and 3x weekly was found to be effective in preventing individuals who had experienced a demyelinating event from progressing to clinically definite multiple sclerosis. The more frequent dosing regimen was more effective in preventing disease activity on magnetic resonance imaging.

When data were combined from the multicenter, international trials, called REFLEX and REFLEXION, the rate of clinically definite MS at the end of 3 years was 27.6% for once weekly IFNb, 27.1% for 3 times weekly IFNb, and 41.3% for delayed therapy. Both differences (P=0.006 and P=0.002, respectively) were highly significant.

There was no significant difference between the 2 IFNb dosing strategies for the primary end point of clinically definite MS, but the authors, who presented the data at the 64th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, noted that the 3x/week schedule was...

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