African-Americans with relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) show higher adherence and greater satisfaction when treated with oral Gilenya (fingolimod, by Novartis) than with injectable therapies, according to a new study.
The research, “Treatment retention on fingolimod compared with injectable multiple sclerosis therapies in African-American patients: A subgroup analysis of a randomized phase 4 study,” was published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.
Although the efficacy and safety of injectable disease-modifying therapies (iDMTs) used as first-line treatments for relapsing forms of MS are well-established, patients are also known from real-world studies to often discontinue using them and become non-adherent to these therapies. Research has shown that poor treatment retention, which includes adherence to and persistence in use over the long term, is key for better outcomes in MS.
To optimize treatment, clinicians need information on the efficacy, safety, tolerability, and convenience of therapies in specific patient groups.
Studies show that African-American MS patients can have a more aggressive disease course than Caucasians, including a greater likelihood of disability accumulation. Although not widely studied for MS, this patient population in diseases like hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma are known to have lower treatment retention rates than those of other patient groups.
The Phase 4 PREFERMS study (NCT01623596), sponsored by Novartis, randomized about 850 RRMS patients ages 8–65 to oral Gilenya or an injectable DMT. Its goal was to better understand retention to treatment with Gilenya in specific populations. All enrolled had either never taken any iDMT previously or only one such medication; patients allowed one treatment switch after 12 weeks or earlier for safety or efficacy reasons.
Published study results across all patients showed that, compared to iDMTs, 0.5 mg daily use of oral Gilenya was associated with higher treatment retention, greater patient satisfaction, and improved outcomes.
Here, the researchers analyzed a subgroup of African-American patients who participated in the PREFERMS trial.
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