Laurie Barclay, MD
NEW YORK (MedscapeWire) Apr 29 — Different interferon regimens vary in their ability to prevent relapses and disease progression in multiple sclerosis (MS), according to the results of a prospective, randomized trial published in the April 27 issue of The Lancet.
"The 3 interferon beta preparations approved for treatment of relapsing-remitting MS differ in dose and frequency of administration," write Luca Durelli and colleagues from Turin University Medical School in Italy. "High-dose interferon beta-1b given every other day is more effective in treating multiple sclerosis (MS) than interferon beta-1a given once a week."
In the INCOMIN study involving 15 Italian MS centers, 188 patients with relapsing-remitting MS received either 250 mcg interferon beta-1b given on alternate days or 30 mcg interferon beta-1a given once weekly.
Over the 2-year study period, 51% of those given interferon beta-1b remained relapse-free, as did 36% of those given interferon beta-1a (P=.03). Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain revealed no new proton density/T2 lesions in 55% of those given interferon beta-1b and in 26% of those on interferon beta-1a (P<.0003).
"There were also significant differences in favor of interferon beta-1b in most of the secondary outcome measures, including delay of confirmed disease progression," the authors write. "The greater efficacy observed in the interferon beta-1b group was not achieved at the cost of reduced compliance."
Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD
Laurie Barclay, MD, is a staff writer with WebMD.
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