Mayzent Aids Cognitive Processing Speed in SPMS Patients, Trial Suggests
Mayzent (siponimod) significantly improved cognitive processing speed in people with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) compared with a placebo, according to additional analyses of two-year data from the EXPAND Phase 3 trial.
While no approved therapies in the U.S. currently target cognitive impairment in MS, “our study found that [Mayzent], which is prescribed to slow the progression of physical disability in MS, may also help improve cognitive processing speed in people with advanced MS,” Ralph H. B. Benedict, PhD, the study’s first author, said in a press release.
Benedict is a professor of neurology at the University of Buffalo in New York, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
Since significant improvements were seen in only one of the three cognitive function tests included in the trial, “more research should further examine how [Mayzent] affects scores on a broader array of thinking and memory tests,” Benedict added.
These findings were reported in the study, “Siponimod and cognition in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: EXPAND secondary analyses,” published in the journal Neurology.
Cognitive difficulties are estimated to affect a vast majority of MS patients, and are usually more severe in progressive than in relapsing forms of the disease. Impairment is associated with a considerable negative impact on patients’ quality of life, with processing speed as the most commonly affected cognitive domain.
Cognitive processing speed is the amount of time it takes a person to take in information, process it, and then react to solve a problem or complete a task.
Its approval was largely based on results from the ongoing EXPAND Phase 3 trial (NCT01665144), which showed that a two-year treatment with Mayzent (2 mg tablets given once daily) was superior to placebo at lowering the risk of disability progression in 1,651 SPMS patients.
Participants completing the placebo-controlled part of the trial, lasting up to three years, had the option to enter its long-term, open-label extension part, in which all would be given Mayzent.
Now, in a Novartis-funded study, researchers evaluated the effects of treatment on patients’ cognitive function over the first two years of the trial’s placebo-controlled phase.
EXPAND participants underwent cognitive assessments before the start of treatment and every six months thereafter. Cognitive skills were assessed using the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) and the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT) to measure cognitive processing speed, as well as the Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised (BVMT-R) for visual or spatial memory.
Of note, SDMT is the gold standard measure of cognitive processing speed, and a score change of at least four points is considered clinically meaningful.
Results showed a significant improvement in SDMT scores among Mayzent-treated patients after one year, one-and-a-half years, and two years of treatment, compared with those given a placebo — whose scores remained stable.
Based on SDMT scores, the therapy was found to be superior to placebo at lowering patients’ risk of a sustained, clinically meaningful worsening in cognitive processing speed — by 21% — and at increasing their chances of a confirmed improvement (a four-point sustained increase in SDMT scores) — by 28%.