Long-term use of disease-modifying therapies demonstrate effectiveness for MS.
Long-term treatment with disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) appears to lessen the risk of disease worsening in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis(RRMS) patients, an 18-year follow-up study suggests.
But these therapies were not seen to benefit those who had progressed to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS).
The study, “Onset of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis is not influenced by current relapsing multiple sclerosis therapies,” was published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal – Experimental, Translational and Clinical.
Disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) are treatments that aim to reduce MS progression from relapsing–remitting forms of the disease to SPMS.
Researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of 1,709 patients registered at the Group for Research and Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (GITEM) Registry in Valencia, Spain.
Out of the initial 1,709 patients, 225 were clinically diagnosed with MS and 204 received treatment with first-line DMTs — interferon beta (Biogen‘s Avonex, among other brand names) or glatiramer acetate (sold as Teva‘s Copaxone).
Treatment with DMTs began when patients experienced at least one relapse in the previous year or two relapses within the previous three years. RRMS patients were followed for a median of 18.1 years.
Patients who failed to respond to treatment were given second-line therapies, namely the immune suppressants Novantrone (mitoxantrone), cyclophosphamide, or selective second-line DMTs, such as Tysabri (natalizumab) or Gilenya (fingolimod).
Study participants were evaluated regularly — every three to six months — for changes in their Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores, relapse rates, and for side effects or decisions to stop treatment.
Progression to SPMS was confirmed “when patients with a previous EDSS score of 3.0 or greater experienced a six-month worsening to EDSS 4.0 or greater without evidence of relapse,” the researchers wrote.
|Read on: RRMS Patients on Long-term DMT Use Seen Less Likely to Progress to SPMS in Study|