Biogen reported new data describing the effectiveness of Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) in newly diagnosed relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients in a recent presentation at the 68th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). The conference, taking place in Vancouver, Canada, runs through April 21.
Tecfidera is an oral medication taken twice daily. Although the biological activity of this medication is not completely understood, researchers believe that Tecfidera inhibits immune system cells and molecules. It may also act as an anti-oxidant, potentially protecting against demyelination and the loss of neurons that occurs in MS. Tecfidera has also been used to treat other inflammatory diseases, including sarcoidosis, psoriasis, and necrobiosis lipoidic.
Previous clinical trials on Tecfidera have shown immune-suppressive effects in people with MS, a reduction of relapse rates, and an increase in the time to MS disease-progression compared to placebo (a sugar pill).
More than 50 percent of the newly diagnosed MS patients who received Tecfidera experienced no relapses and disability progression for a total of six years. Additional data derived from a U.S. healthcare claims database confirmed lower annual relapse rates compared to glatiramer acetate, interferon β, and teriflunomide. Scientists reported similar relapse rates between Tecfidera and fingolimod (Gilenya).
“The MS treatment landscape has expanded rapidly in recent years, giving physicians and patients options for various stages of disease. Beyond clinical findings, real-world data provide important insights into patients’ experiences outside of clinical trials,” Kate Dawson, MD, vice president, U.S. Medical at Biogen, said in a press release. “These data show Tecfidera consistently delivers strong and sustained efficacy in newly diagnosed patients both in a real-world and clinical setting, further supporting the value it offers patients and affirming the advantages of early treatment with Tecfidera in decreasing clinical disease activity.”
Biogen produces other medications, in addition to Tecfidera, for the treatment of MS, and is also making additional presentations on those drugs at the AAN Meeting. The company gave its Tecfidera presentation on Monday, April 20.
“MS is a complex, life-long disease that affects each person differently. Because people with MS have diverse treatment needs, it is critical that they have a variety of therapeutic options available that not only provide robust efficacy and different mechanisms of action, but also offer the flexibility to transition to another treatment, if needed,” concluded Ralph Kern, MD, senior vice president, Worldwide Medical at Biogen. “With the world’s leading MS portfolio and growing pipeline, Biogen continues to focus on MS care to impact the greatest number of people living with MS globally.”