Multiple Sclerosis: Early Treatment with Tecfidera and Tysabri Can Improve Outcomes

APRIL 26, 2017
Amy Jacob



Kate Dawson, MD, VP, US Medical Biogen and team believes it’s imperative for patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) to get treated early and be monitored during the course of the disease, because data continue to show that patients treated earlier and are switched appropriately do the best.
 
“With respect to Tecfidera, we looked at a US claims database (of several years and over 5000 patients on Tecfidera) and compared it with patients who received teriflunomide. Results showed that Tecfidera was more beneficial,” Dawson told MD Magazine at AAN 2017.
 
According to Dawson, early treatment means, “as soon as physicians diagnose the patients.” Dawson and team looked at patients who were diagnosed and went on Tysabri within 1 year, 1-5 years, or later than 5 years of their diagnoses. These were patients who did not start on any treatment. Results showed that while everyone benefited from Tysabri, there was a clear benefit in the group of patients that began treatment in the first year from diagnoses.
 
Dawson hopes the results will help change prescribing patterns, mainly because they believe it improves patient outcomes. “We really think Tecfidera is an appropriate therapy for patients that are starting treatment for MS or are naïve to treatment. We’re trying to provide information that can be useful as they’re making risk benefit decisions for their patients. “
 
Dawson also explained that as a company, they’re committed to ensuring they have offerings across a spectrum for multiple sclerosis.  While cost isn’t in her purview as one of the medical directors leading the US, she understands they need to make sure “these therapies are providing value.”
 
Regarding next steps in research, Dawson discussed that in addition to making sure we can help with repair of myelin, the team is showcasing their new therapy, Spinraza, for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), which shows benefits across a spectrum of SMA patients. Her team also continues to share their data for a new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. “We’re excited to tackle these very important diseases that really are a great burden to our society,” said Dawson.


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