Gilenya

Generic Version of Gilenya, pms-Fingolimod, Now Available for RRMS Patients in Canada

Pharmascience recently launched pms-Fingolimod, a generic version of Novartis’ Gilenya (fingolimod), to treat adults with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) in Canada. The new generic is now available in that country, and has demonstrated efficacy and safety similar to Gilenya. Generic medicines are chemically identical to the original branded therapy, but carry a…

Mavenclad Cost-Effective Treatment for At-risk RRMS Patients Compared to Other DMTs, Dutch Study Finds

Treating at-risk relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients is most cost-effective with Mavenclad (cladribine) tablets when compared to Gilenya (fingolimod), Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) or Tysabri (natalizumab), according to a study in Dutch patients. The study, “Cost Effectiveness of Cladribine Tablets for the Treatment of Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis in…

Using the Floodlight App to Track My MS

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been using an app called Floodlight to track my ability to live with my multiple sclerosis (MS). It measures things such as my balance, finger dexterity, walking speed, and cognitive ability. It even knows if I’m keeping myself shuttered in my apartment or…

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…

Continuous Use of Gilenya for Up to 3 Years Can Lead to 50% Drop in Annual Relapse Rates, Real-world Study Says

Multiple sclerosis patients who began treatment with Gilenya and stayed with it continuously showed a more than 50 percent reduction in annual relapse rates, a real-world study following these people for up to three years found. Gilenya, marketed by Novartis, is an oral disease-modifying treatment for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis , approved in 2010. It acts by binding and modulating receptors — called sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor — on lymphocytes (adaptive immune cells). By binding to these receptors, Gilenya prevents lymphocytes from leaving the lymph nodes and reaching the brain and spinal cord, and so lower lymphocyte-induced inflammation and damage. Although several clinical trials have reported reduced annualized relapse rates (ARRs) upon treatment with Gilenya, few long-term real-life studies have examined the relapse rate reductions over a long term. A team, led by Novartis researchers and a scientist at Central Texas Neurology Consultants, collected MS patient data from the MarketScan database, a U.S. claims database including medical and pharmacy claims (bills submitted to health insurance providers), between 2009 and 2016. Among 9,312 MS patients in the database with at least one filled Gilenya prescription, 1,599 adults (mean age, 46) met the study's inclusion criteria, including having at least one inpatient or two outpatient claims, and a total of four years of continuous health plan enrollment. Among these 1,599 patients, all used Gilenya for one year (cohort 1), 1,158 (72.4%) took Gilenya continuously up to the start of year two (cohort 2), and 937 (58.6%) used the therapy up to the start of year three (cohort 3). Baseline analysis — measures taken at the study's start — showed that the most common MS-linked symptoms were disorders of the optic nerve and visual pathways (reported in 22-24%), followed by fatigue/malaise (20-21%). Hypertension (20-21%) and depression (15-16%) were the most common physical and mental comorbidities, respectively. The mean annualized relapse rates (AARs) at baseline in these three groups of patients — cohorts 1 to 3 — ranged between 0.48 and 0.51. A consistent reduction in ARRs was seen in all three groups: cohort 1 had a 0.25 ARR at the close of the first year, for a 51% reduction from the baseline rate; cohort 2 a 0.22 ARR at the start of year two, for a  54% lowering in relapse rates from baseline; and cohort 3 had 0.23 ARR at the third year, amounting to a 53% reduction. As expected, when researchers calculated ARRs among patients with continuous Gilenya use over these three years, they found a greater reduction in annual relapse rates. Mean ARRs in continuous-use patients were 0.19 (a 61% reduction) during the first year, 0.18 (a 62% reduction) during the second year, and 0.18 (a 61% reduction) at the start of the third year. “This retrospective claims database study found that patients with MS who received fingolimod [Gilenya] therapy experienced a durable and sustained reduction in relapse rates over a 3-year period,” the researchers wrote, with findings representing “a durable reduction in relapse rates by [more than] 50%.” Reasons that some patients discontinued treatment were not a focus of this study, they added.

New Study Supports Hitting MS Fast and Hard

The question of how quickly to start a disease-modifying therapy (DMT) after a multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis is one that I frequently see when I browse online. It goes hand in hand with questions about which DMT is best to start with. There are many things to consider when…

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.