Sep. 17, 2002
Biogen Inc.'s Avonex (interferon beta-1a) provides beneficial effects in terms of disease progression, relapses, quality of life and brain activity in MS patients, a new study showed.
A total of 436 subjects with secondary progressive MS were randomly assigned to receive weekly intramuscular injections of either Avonex or placebo for two years.
The primary outcome measure was the change in scores on the MS Functional Composite, which includes tests that measure ambulation, arm function and cognition.
Results showed that individuals who were treated with Avonex had a 40.4 percent reduction in the composite score compared with placebo-treated subjects.
Furthermore, Avonex-treated patients had 33 percent fewer relapses. Also, these patients showed a significant benefit on eight of 11 MS quality-of-life scales. New or enlarging brain lesions as seen on MRI scans were reduced at months 12 and 24 in Avonex-treated patients as well.
However, Avonex produced no visible benefit on the Expanded Disability Status Scale score, a widely used measurement of MS severity.
The study appears in the Sept. 10 issue of Neurology.
© 2002, FaxWatch