More MS news articles for June 2001

Use of Avonex, Copaxone and Betaseron in treating children with MS

June 8, 2001

The use of standard agents such as Avonex (interferon beta-1a), Betaseron (interferon beta-1b) and Copaxone (glatiramer) “demonstrate potential efficacy in the treatment of childhood MS with an acceptable side effect profile,” researchers suggested at the annual meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers.

Although these agents are considered as standard treatment for adult MS patients, little is known about the use of these agents in children, the researchers noted. They added that the FDA has not approved the use of these drugs for children younger than 18 years old.

In their study, pediatric patients at the Baylor International Multiple Sclerosis Center were selected for review of the effect of the three agents. The study included 13 patients who had been diagnosed with MS at or before the age of 16. All patients were placed on treatment with either Avonex, Betaseron or Copaxone.

According to the review, the average age of patients at disease onset was 10.5 years; almost all had relapsing-remitting MS except one patient who had the secondary progressive form of the disease.

Two patients received Avonex, one patient was treated with Copaxone while the remaining patients underwent treatment with Betaseron.

Patients experienced mild side effects after initiation of therapy. Adverse effects included fatigue, flu-like symptoms, injection-site reactions, and headache.

Prior to therapy, patients experienced an average of three relapses each year. Following treatment, average relapse rates were less than one per year.

“The use of these agents in the treatment of childhood disease needs to be further investigated in hopes [of] achieving FDA approval for their use in children less than 18 years of age,” the researchers concluded.