Patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) on Rebif (interferon beta 1-a), using the RebiSmart autoinjector, have high treatment adherence, despite seasonal weather or temperature fluctuations, as well as fewer relapses over one year, a real-world study reports.
The study, “Seasonal adherence to, and effectiveness of, subcutaneous interferon β-1a administered by RebiSmart in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis: results of the 1-year, observational GEPAT-SMART study,” was published in the journal BMC Neurology.
Poor adherence to treatment in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients has been associated with a higher rate of relapse, and may also have a negative impact on disease progression.
Rebif, developed by EMD Serono (an arm of the company known as as Merck KGaA outside the U.S. and Canada), is one of the MS treatments that uses interferons as the active ingredient. This group of medications may cause a side effect known as flu-like syndrome, and symptoms such as fever, chills, and headache may be more difficult to tolerate when the weather is hot, as it is during the summer in Mediterranean countries, which could affect treatment adherence.
A research team in Greece explored if seasonal weather and temperature variations influenced patient adherence to one-year treatment with Rebif, administered via Merck’s RebiSmart autoinjector device.
The multicenter, observational GEPAT-SMART study — funded by Merck Hellas — included adult RRMS patients (18-65 years old), with an Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score below six (meaning no significant walking impairment), who were being treated with Rebif for up to six weeks before enrollment.
All patients self-administered 44 or 22 micrograms of Rebif under the skin three times weekly for 12 months or until early discontinuation.
After a pre-study assessment, patients were evaluated on the first day (baseline), after six months, and at one year. Reasons for missed injections, relapse frequency, EDSS score, MS-related concomitant medications, vital signs, and adverse events were also recorded.
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