Mar 11, 2002
PR Newswire - USA
Schering AG (FSE: SCH) announced today that "New aspects in the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis with Betaferon(R)" were discussed by 500 Neurologists from many European countries at the Schering symposium held in Vienna on March 9, 2002. The topics presented included the early treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS), new diagnostic criteria and the long-term evaluation of interferon therapy.
The effects of long-term treatment with Betaferon(R) (interferon beta-1b) were presented from a 12-year follow-up, the longest period that any beta- interferon has been studied. It showed sustained clinical benefits for the patients and high long-term patient compliance and tolerability.
Prof. George Rice, Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, University of Western Ontario, Canada and lead investigator of the follow up study commented: "We can see from this follow-up that early and prolonged treatment of MS using Betaferon(R) results in a sustained benefit for patients in terms of their burden of disease when monitored by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In those patients who continue the treatment for 12 years, the drug was tolerated exceptionally well. The follow-up was designed to look at MRI based disease activity measures, not to examine the frequency and severity of attacks. Interferons are known to show a clear influence on the disease measured in this way: It is reassuring that this benefit is durable".
The follow-up -- the longest ever conducted on the treatment of MS -- followed 31 patients with MS who had participated in the first placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial with a beta interferon (Betaferon(R)). Over 12 years, Betaferon(R) treated patients showed a decrease in the burden of disease measured by MRI as compared to untreated. The flu-like symptoms, which are seen frequently with beta-interferon use, were found to disappear over time, dropping from 66% to 5% in the 12th year. Another important observation from this follow-up was that neutralising antibodies, which tend to develop in the first years of treatment (about 40% of patients in this follow-up), disappeared in almost all patients. "Together with the positive long-term benefit of Betaferon(R), the follow-up has shown that many side effects that initially concerned people with MS disappear over time, an important fact for patients and physicians," said Dr Rice.
These encouraging results will be further evaluated in the other patients who participated in the pivotal trial.
Schering AG is a research-based pharmaceutical company. Its activities are focused on four business areas: Fertility Control & Hormone Therapy, Diagnostics & Radiopharmaceuticals, Dermatology as well as Specialized Therapeutics for disabling diseases in the fields of the central nervous system, oncology and cardiovascular. As a global player with innovative products Schering AG aims for leading positions in specialized markets worldwide. With in-house R&D and supported by an excellent global network of external partners, Schering AG is securing a promising product pipeline. Using new ideas, Schering AG aims to make a recognized contribution to medical progress and strives to improve the quality of life.
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