More MS news articles for June 2001

Interferon-beta-treated patients more likely to alter usual activities because of side effects than Copaxone-treated patients

June 8, 2001

Relapsing-remitting MS patients treated with interferon beta (Avonex, Betaseron or Rebif) are at an approximately twice the risk of needing to alter their usual activities because of side effects as compared with those receiving Copaxone (glatiramer), results of a preliminary study suggested.

The study included 63 MS patients; 46 percent chose treatment with Avonex, Betaseron or Rebif, while 54 percent chose Copaxone treatment.

All patients rated their wellness prior to injection, one hour after injection, and at 12 to 16 hours following injection.

No differences were reported between the treatment groups with regard to wellness ratings until 12 to 16 hours after injection. Immediately before injection, 11 percent of the patients said they felt unwell and at one hour, 16 percent said they were feeling unwell.

At 12 to 16 hours after injection, 45 percent of the interferon-treated patients reported feeling sick or worse, whereas only 8 percent of the Copaxone-treated patients said they were feeling ill.

Moreover, the interferon group was approximately twice as likely to change their activities because of adverse effects compared with the Copaxone-treated patients.

“Awareness that interferon beta, compared with [Copaxone], is associated with more than five times the risk of feeling unwell 12-16 hours post injection ... may be important to patients,” the investigators concluded. “It may result in different therapy choices and help them prepare for treatment initiation.”

The research was presented at the annual meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers.