Sanofi Genzyme‘s Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) and Biogen‘s Tysabri (natalizumab) are more effective in preventing conversion to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) compared to older injectable drugs, researchers from the University of Cambridge in the U.K. reported at the 7th Joint ECTRIMS-ACTRIMS Meeting Oct. 25-28 in Paris.
The findings indicate that SPMS is, in part, a result of earlier inflammation, and that disease-modifying drugs can offset the risk of people with relapsing-remitting (RR) disease progressing to SPMS.
The study, “The effect of disease-modifying treatments on conversion to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis,” was presented by Will Brown, and examined outcomes of MS patients followed in the MSBase international registry.
According to Brown, there is “conflicting previous data about whether injectable therapies delay SPMS.”
The goal of this study was to “determine whether immunomodulatory drugs influence conversion to SPMS; determine whether the potency of disease-modifying drugs influences conversion to SPMS; and determine whether the timing of immunosuppression influences conversion to SPMS,” Brown said.
Patients in the study were treated for at least four years with a single disease-modifying treatment: injectables — a group composed of interferons and Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) — along with Gilenya (fingolimod), Lemtrada, or Tysabri.
The analysis included only patients treated with injectables before 2006, when more effective treatments became available, to reduce the risk that this group included people with milder disease.
To explore the impact of treatment in progression to SPMS, researchers compared these patients to 622 untreated patients who had been followed for an average of 9.2 years in an earlier study. To make comparisons more valid, they matched patients according to sex, baseline age, annualized-relapse rate, disability level, and disease duration.
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