All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for June 2003

Largest real-life study shows advantages with 2 years of Avonex compared to other interferon beta preparations

QUASIMS study presented at European Neurological Society Annual Congress

Thursday June 19, 10:30 AM
Source: Biogen Inc.
Istanbul, Turkey

Findings from the largest Multiple Sclerosis study comparing the efficacy and safety of four interferon beta preparations (30 mcg 1x/wk, Avonex(R); 22 mcg 3x/wk, Rebif(R) and 44 mcg 3x/wk, Rebif(R); 250 mcg every other day, Betaferon(R)) showed after two years of treatment in patients with relapsing-remitting MS comparable efficacy parameters for all interferon preparations. The QUASIMS study (Quality Assessment in MS Therapy) reviewed patient treatment records from over 3,884 patients from more than 400 centres through Germany, Austria and Switzerland who had received treatment for at least two years. The results of the "real-life" study were presented at the annual congress of the European Neurological Society in Istanbul.

The study found that the course of MS from baseline (0) up to two years was comparable for all four treatment arms as measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS)(1) after year one and year two. The difference in EDSS over two years is 0.2 for Avonex; 0.2 for Betaferon; 0.2 for Rebif22 and 0.3 for Rebif44. However, when examining the annual relapse rates over the two year period Avonex showed the lowest relapse rate (0.52) and Rebif44 the highest rate (0.69) of relapses.

"The results of this study are crucial in advancing our understanding of how to best manage relapsing-remitting MS over the long-term," said Professor Volker Limmroth, Neurologist at the University of Essen in Germany and primary investigator for the QUASIMS study. "It suggests that higher doses and frequencies of interferon beta are not necessarily better when you take into account the comparable disease progression as assessed by the EDSS. In the light of these results, patients treated with Avonex could have significant advantages in the long term treatment given the fact that Avonex has the lowest incidence of neutralising antibodies (NAB's)."


QUASIMS is an open-label, retrospective, four-arm, multi-centre study of patients with relapsing-remitting MS and treated with interferon beta therapy constantly for at least 2 years. Individual case report forms were completed for each patient and evaluated by an independent research organisation. Outcome parameters assessed were disability as measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), relapse rate, therapy change and drops outs. The EDSS is one of the most widely used rating systems for judging the clinical status of people with MS based on their daily activity/function levels.

About Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease of the central nervous system that affects approximately 120,000 people in Germany, 400,000 people in North America and approximately 2 million people worldwide. It is a disease of young adults, mostly women, with onset typically between 20 and 40 years of age. Symptoms of MS may include vision problems, loss of balance, numbness, difficulty walking and paralysis.

1) Footnote

The Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) is one of the most widely used rating systems for judging the clinical status of people with MS based on their daily activity/function levels. Here are some of the scores from the EDSS and what they represent:

0.0 : Normal neurological exams
1.0 - 1.5 : No disability but with some abnormal signs on the neurologicalsexams
2.0 - 5.5 : Disability is present but able to walk without mechanical orshuman assistances
6.0 : Needs a single cane, crutch, or brace in order to walks6.5sNeeds two canes, two crutches, or two braces in order to walks
7.0 - 7.5 : May be able to take a few steps but needs a wheelchair forsmobilitys8.0sNot able to walk; restricted to wheelchairs
8.5 - 9.5 : Restricted to beds
10.0 : Death due to MS

Copyright © 2003 Yahoo! Inc.