Acthar Gel (repository corticotropin injection) is more effective for treating flares in multiple sclerosis (MS) than other alternatives, including intravenous immunoglobulin or plasmapheresis, a claims-based study from Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals reports.
The study “Treatment Effectiveness for Resolution of Multiple Sclerosis Relapse in a US Health Plan Population” was published in the journal Neurology and Therapy.
Acthar Gel, developed and marketed by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for 19 different indications, including the treatment of acute MS flare-ups in adults who have frequent and recurring relapses.
The compound consists of a gel preparation of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which is injected under the skin (subcutaneously) or into the muscle (intramuscularly). It works by enhancing the production of steroids in the body to reduce inflammation and more rapidly resolve a flare.
Acthar Gel is often used as a treatment alternative (or second-line) in patients who cannot tolerate the side effects of, or have responded poorly to, high-dose corticosteroids (the standard treatment).
Clinical trials have demonstrated that Acthar Gel speeds patients’ recovery from a MS relapse compared to placebo, but no study has shown that it changes the disease’s natural course.
This newly published retrospective study, conducted by Mallinckrodt researchers, evaluated the rate of MS relapses, frequency of treatments used, and their effectiveness (relapse resolution rates) in patients using standard corticosteroid therapy or other alternatives, including Acthar Gel, intravenous immunoglobulin, and plasmapheresis.
Researchers reviewed data covering 9,574 adults with MS flares between 2008 and 2015, using administrative claims data from the insurance company Humana. A total of 25,162 relapse episodes were identified. The mean follow-up time per patient was 2.7 years.
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