Alemtuzumab Better than Interferon in Multiple Sclerosis

NOVEMBER 12, 2016
Dava Stewart
Alemtuzumab provided more benefits to patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) who had poor response to other therapies than subcutaneous interferon-B-1a (SC IFN-B-1a) provided, according to the results of a recent study. Conducted by Gavin Giovannoni, MD, PhD, of Queen Mary University of London, and colleagues, the study was published in the journal Neurology on October 12, 2016.
 
The authors begin by discussing the fact that limiting disability is an important part of caring for patients with MS, but that interest is increasing in not only limiting disability but in helping patients with disability improve. They say, “Interest is growing in aiming for confirmed disability improvement (CDI), a higher standard for therapeutic efficacy than merely slowing disability accumulation.” In pursuit of that goal, the researchers say the aim of the present study was “to characterize effects of alemtuzumab treatment on measures of disability improvement in patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis with inadequate response to prior therapy.”
 
The researchers used information from the phase 3 trial called Comparison of Alemtuzumab and Rebif Efficacy in Multiple Sclerosis II (CARE-MS II), as well as the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and some non-EDSS-based methods for measuring disability to determine time to CDI.
 
“Alemtuzumab was more effective than SC IFN-B1a at improving disability outcomes,” report the researchers, both reducing the risk of disability worsening and also increasing CDI at 6-months. “The current analysis demonstrates that, in patients with RRMS with an inadequate response to prior DMTs [disease modifying therapies] alemtuzumab provides greater recovery of function across several disability measures than SC IFN-B-1a,” say the authors.
 
Nearly half of the 426 patients taking alemtuzumab in the CARE-MS II study showed improvement as measured by the EDSS, in all 7 functional domains, leading the researchers to say the results “suggest that such disabilities may often be reversible (at least partially) in patients with active RRMS if they receive suitable therapy, irrespective of the type of baseline functional deficit.”
 
The authors conclude, “The outcomes presented here not only support alemtuzumab’s ability to slow disability accumulation, but also demonstrate superior benefit in improving preexisting disability in patients with RRMS with an inadequate response to prior DMT.”
 
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