Multiple Sclerosis: Alemtuzumab Significantly Reduces Relapse Rate

OCTOBER 06, 2015
Caitlyn Fitzpatrick
Alemtuzumab is an effective strategy to prevent relapses and other disease activity associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to Heinz Wiendl, MD, a professor at the University of Münster. The research will be explained in a poster session at the 31st Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS 2015) in Barcelona, Spain.

A duo of two-year phase 3 studies (CARE-MS I and CARE-MS II) analyzed the use of alemtuzumab, marketed under the name Lemtrada. In CARE-MS I included 173 patients with MS who were not on treatment, and CARE-MS II consisted of 175 patients who did not have a sufficient response to previous therapy.

Patients who had been treated with subcutaneous interferon beta-1a (SC IFNB-1a) were given 44 µg three times per week for the entirety of the analysis. Disease activity was measured using the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and NEDA (absence of clinical disease and MRI lesion activity) every year before and after the studies.

Participants had the option to enroll in the extension study, which ended up being 83% (144 patients) in CARE-MS I and 83% (146 patients) in CARE-MS II. They received 12 mg for the first five consecutive days and then for three consecutive days for one year.

Two years after being the extension period, the researchers compared clinical disease activity between those who switched to alemtuzumab to those on SC IFNB-1a in the initial study. The amount of patients free from disease activity increased by 12% in CARE-MS I and 32% in CARE-MS II. MRI results showed a disease activity-free increase by 38% in the first study and 73% in the second. In addition, the percentage of patients reaching NEDA increased by 50% in CARE-MS I and 113% in CARE-MS II.

To sum it up, significant improvements in relapse rate and MRI activity were observed in those treated with alemtuzumab when compared to SC IFNB-1a. Furthermore, substantial NEDA improvements were witnessed in those who switched from SC IFN-1a to alemtuzumab.

“These findings demonstrate further improved outcomes with alemtuzumab versus SC IFNB-1a, and thus support the superior efficacy of alemtuzumab in patients who received prior disease-modifying therapy,” the team concluded.

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