Aubagio

MS News that Caught My Eye Last Week: Cancer Medication Slows MS, Vitamin D and Myelin, Targeting ‘Helper’ T-cells, Vaccination Guidelines

Ofatumumab Better at Easing Relapse Rates and Slowing MS Progression Than Aubagio, Phase 3 Data Show Ofatumumab isn’t approved as a multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment. It’s a cancer medication that’s marketed as Arzerra. But in two clinical trials reported here, it did better than Aubagio at treating MS. Its…

Ofatumumab Better at Easing Relapse Rates and Slowing MS Progression Than Aubagio, Phase 3 Data Show

Monthly injections of ofatumumab led to more clinically meaningful reductions in relapse rates and delayed disability progression than did daily treatment with Aubagio (teriflunomide) tablets in people with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), results from two Phase 3 trials showed. Ofatumumab, formerly known as OMB157, is a potent, self-administered…

Some Neuros Make DMT Choice Harder than It Should Be

More than 15 disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) are available in most high-income countries to treat multiple sclerosis (MS). DMTs come in the form of injectables, infusions, and pills. Some are new, others have been around for more than 20 years. Some have a greater possibility of serious side effects than others. Some DMTs are highly effective at slowing or stopping disease progression; others, not so much. It's a difficult choice to make. So, why are some neurologists making it harder? These doctors are handing their patients a medication "shopping list" and telling them to pick one. I see this topic discussed regularly in social media MS groups. Recently, a woman who needs to switch DMTs wrote that her neuro gave her a "handful of (medication) brochures" and told her to go home and decide which medication she wanted. Really? DMT selection shouldn't be do-it-yourself I've been using DMTs for more than 20 years. I've been on Avonex (interferon beta-1a), Tysabri (natalizumab), Aubagio (teriflunomide), and Lemtrada (alemtuzumab). I always had the final say on which med I wanted to use, but I never had to make that decision alone without guidance from my neuro. That's the way a doctor-patient relationship should work. While the final DMT decision should always rest with the patient, your neurologist has the responsibility to use his or her knowledge of the meds and of you to guide you in your choice. Some factors that you both need to consider are: Is the disease progressing quickly or slowly? Your lifestyle: Do you work full time? Do you have a good support system and reliable transportation? If an injectable DMT is in the mix, can you handle injecting yourself monthly, three times a week, or every day? How much possible risk are you willing to accept in exchange for the potential of a better result? An additional and criticial consideration is whether you can afford the treatment. My impression is that cost is rarely thought of or talked about before most physicians prescribe a medication. I see nothing wrong with asking your doctor how much you can expect to pay out-of-pocket. (Or, for the doctor's office to ask this of your insurance company). If you feel your neurologist doesn't know all of these things about you I suggest that you be proactive and fill in any blanks. The final choice is yours With all of that knowledge, you can probably narrow down the most appropriate DMT candidates for you to three or four. Then it's time for your neuro to clearly explain why those are the best choices and to review the pros and cons of each. Then, and only then, it's time for you to make the final choice. And your decision might be not to use any medication. That wouldn't be my choice, but it might be yours. After all, you're the one who'll be living with whatever choice you make. What has been your experience? Was your neurologist helpful when selecting a DMT or were you given "a handful of brochures" and told to do-it-yourself? How did you choose? You're invited to visit my personal blog at www.themswire.com.

Aubagio Targets Highly Metabolic Auto-reactive T-Cells, Study Shows

Aubagio (teriflunomide), an approved medicine for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), specifically targets highly metabolic and more autoreactive T-cells, analysis of the Phase 3 TERI-DYNAMIC clinical trial data shows. The findings, contrary to expectations, support a selective effect of Aubagio on different T-cell populations. The study “Teriflunomide treatment for multiple sclerosis modulates T cell mitochondrial respiration with affinity-dependent effects” was published in the Science Translational Medicine journal. In MS, immune cells, or lymphocytes known as T-cells, attack and destroy myelin, the fat-rich substance that wraps around nerve fibers (axons). Myelin loss creates lesions that affect nerves of the brain and spinal cord. Previous evidence suggested that T-cells, depending on their active or resting state, rely on specific ways of energy production or metabolism. Aubagio, marketed by Sanofi Genzyme, is a well-known inhibitor of a mitochondrial enzyme called dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH), that is crucial for the activity of T-cells. However, how Aubagio selectively targets the autoreactive T-cells is poorly understood. To shed light on this matter, an international group of researchers used data from the TERI-DYNAMIC clinical trial that tested Aubagio in patients with relapsing form of MS to better understand how the therapy inhibited the patients' self-immune responses. The Phase 3, open-label TERI-DYNAMIC trial (NCT01863888) included 70 patients from Belgium, Germany, and The Netherlands, aged 18 to 56. Participants received Aubagio as a 14 milligram (mg) once-daily, oral dose, and researchers assessed the changes in immune cells' profile up to 24 weeks. Results showed that, contrary to what was expected, Aubagio was not generally decreasing T-cell levels in treated patients. Instead, it significantly reduced a particular subset of T-cells, called "Th1 helper cells." Moreover, researchers found that the diversity of T-cell receptors — the surface proteins that can recognize a particular antigen (a protein that can elicit an immune response) — making T-cells specific to a certain target was reduced in MS patients after treatment with Aubagio. These findings suggested that some T-cells were particularly susceptible to Aubagio. Using a mouse model for MS, the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model, researchers showed that the CD4+ T-cells (helper T-cells) and CD8+ T-cells, those that reacted most strongly against self-antigens, were the most sensitive to DHODH inhibition by Aubagio. Moreover, researchers saw that Aubagio was not affecting the production of pro-inflammatory molecules — called cytokines — at the cell level, but their overall decrease probably was due to the reduction in T-cell numbers. In line with these findings, CD4+ T-cells that produced the cytokine interferon gamma were significantly reduced with Aubagio treatment, whereas CD4+ T-cells that produced interleukin 17A were unchanged. This suggests that Aubagio is able to interfere with specific sub-types of immune cells. When the team compared the metabolic profile of T-cells from healthy subjects with that from patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) in both remission and in relapse phases, they found that the metabolism of T-cells from the last group was significantly altered, and thus targetable. Altogether, the results suggested that T-cells with a high-affinity to self-antigens are more susceptible to inhibition of the DHODH enzyme by Aubagio. “Therapeutic targeting of metabolic alterations might represent an attractive concept in MS, and might represent an as yet unrecognized key mechanism of teriflunomide-mediated immune modulation in this disease,” the researchers concluded.

Aubagio Lowers Relapse Rate in RRMS Patients, Real-world Observational Study Shows

In clinical practice, relapse events dropped by roughly half over a four-year period in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients treated with Aubagio (teriflunomide), a real-world study reports. The study, “Real-life outcomes of teriflunomide treatment in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis: TAURUS-MS observational study,” also examined patients’ perspectives in…

DMT Choice for Your MS Is Your Decision

About 15 disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) are available to treat MS these days. So, choosing which to use can be daunting. I’ve been treated with four DMTs since I was first prescribed Avonex (interferon beta-1a) back in 1996. Each time I’ve switched treatments, my neurologist has suggested a number of…

Two Different Approaches to Providing Online MS Help

I received an email recently from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in the U.S. promoting a searchable database of “credible doctors and resources.” A few days later, I happened to run across another online multiple sclerosis (MS) information service hosted by the HealthCare Journey website. They call it…

Switching from Tysabri to Aubagio Can Help Lower Relapse Risk in MS Patients, Phase 4 Trial Shows

Stable patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who transition from Tysabri (natalizumab) treatment to Aubagio (teriflunomide) have a lower relapse risk, a new study shows. The study, “Reducing return of disease activity in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis transitioned from natalizumab to teriflunomide: 12-month interim results of teriflunomide therapy,”…

Early Use of High-efficacy DMTs of Long-term Benefit to MS Patients, Real-world Study Reports

Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients given intensive disease-modifying therapies early in their disease course have more favorable long-term outcomes than those treated with an escalating regimen, real-world data shows. The study, “Clinical Outcomes of Escalation vs Early Intensive Disease-Modifying Therapy in Patients With Multiple Sclerosis,” was published in the journal …

Gilenya Better at Lowering Relapse Rate than Tecfidera or Aubagio, Study Suggests

Gilenya is linked to significantly lower annualized relapse rates in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients compared to Tecfidera or Aubagio, a study suggests. All three therapies showed similar effects on disability outcomes. Oral immunotherapies — including Novartis’ Gilenya, Biogen’s Tecfidera, and Sanofi Genzyme’s Aubagio — are currently standard therapies for RRMS treatment. But while these therapies are highly effective at modulating MS activity, studies comparing their efficacy on relapse and disability are missing. This is an important point for MS patients, so that if a change in oral therapies is needed (due to lack of tolerance, for example), the decision on a more suitable therapy is based on scientific evidence. To address this matter, a group of researchers used the MsBase, an international observational MS cohort study, to identify RRMS patients who had been treated with Gilenya, Tecfidera, or Aubagio for at least three months. The team compared Tecfidera versus Aubagio, Gilenya versus Aubagio, and Gilenya versus Tecfidera, specifically for the therapy’s impact on relapse activity, six-month disability worsening or improvement, and persistence of treatment. Relapse was defined as the occurrence of new symptoms or exacerbation of existing ones for a period of over 24 hours, at least 30 days after a previous relapse. Disability was assessed using the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS); the six-month disability worsening or improvement were defined as an increase or a decrease by one value in EDSS. The study included 614 patients treated with Aubagio, 782 with Tecfidera, and 2,332 with Gilenya. Patients were followed over a median of 2.5 years. Patients’ characteristics at baseline differed among the three groups. Aubagio-treated patients tended to be older, with longer periods of disease, fewer relapses, and lower EDSS scores compared to the other two groups. Patients treated with Gilenya had higher EDSS and more relapses during the prior year, compared to those treated with Tecfidera. The majority of the patients had been treated with other immunotherapies prior to being given one of these three oral treatments. Results showed that Gilenya-treated patients had significantly lower annualized relapse rates than those treated with Tecfidera (0.20 versus 0.26) or Aubagio (0.18 versus 0.24), while patients taking either Tecfidera or Aubagio had a similar rate. However, during the 2.5-year period analyzed, researchers found no differences in disability accumulation or disability improvement among the three therapies. Regarding treatment persistence, Tecfidera and Aubagio were more likely to be discontinued than Gilenya. Overall, the results suggest that treatment with Gilenya may have a greater impact on relapse frequency in RRMS patients compared to Tecfidera and Aubagio, although the "effect of the three oral therapies on disability outcomes was similar during the initial 2.5 years on treatment," researchers said. “Choosing a therapy in individual patients remains a complex task that requires thorough and individualized evaluation of disease prognosis, and the corresponding risks and benefits of the increasing number of available therapies,” they concluded.

#ECTRIMS2018 – Plasma Neurofilament Light Levels Linked to Treatment Effects in RRMS, Study Finds

Levels of proposed biomarker neurofilament light chain (NfL) are associated with therapeutic effects of disease-modifying treatments (DMTs) in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients, according to a real-world study. Study findings also revealed that treatment with either Lemtrada (alemtuzumab, marketed by Sanofi Genzyme), Gilenya (fingolimod, marketed by Novartis), Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate, marketed…