Patients Less Likely to Stop Taking Tecfidera Than Aubagio: Study

Somi Igbene, PhD avatar

by Somi Igbene, PhD |

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Tecfidera has a lower risk of discontinuation due to treatment failure than Aubagio in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), a new observational study in Norway suggests.

In the study, people receiving Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) were 38% less likely to experience treatment failure and stop use than those receiving Aubagio (teriflunomide).

The study, “Real-world discontinuation rate of teriflunomide and dimethyl fumarate in multiple sclerosis,” was published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal – Experimental, Translational and Clinical.

Injectable disease-modifying treatments (DMTs), such as interferon-beta and Copaxone (glatiramer acetate injections), were first-line treatments for MS until the oral DMTs Tecfidera (marketed by Biogen) and Aubagio (marketed by Sanofi Genzyme) became available in Norway in 2013.

Once available, many people with MS switched to oral DMTs to avoid painful injections and the flu-like symptoms often associated with injectable interferons.

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While Tecfidera and Aubagio reduce MS relapses and disability progression at similar rates, it is unclear if they also share comparable effectiveness and tolerability rates. Thus, a team of scientists in Norway sought to compare the real-world side effect, discontinuation, and treatment failure rates of Tecfidera and Aubagio using data from the Norwegian Multiple Sclerosis Registry and Biobank. Of note, most of the researchers reported financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

A total of 354 participants were included in the study — 185 treated with Tecfidera and 169 with Aubagio. The mean age of participants receiving Tecfidera was 40 years and for those receiving Aubagio, it was 47 years. Study participants were primarily female (247 out of 354). A proportion of the participants (51.7%) had never received treatment for MS prior to the oral DMTs — this is considered the treatment-naïve group.

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