Interferon beta use and disability prevention in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.

Department of Neurology, University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TX 75235, USA.
JAMA neurology 02/2013; 70(2):248-51.
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Longitudinal observational data are required to assess the association between exposure to β-interferon medications and disease progression among relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) patients in the "real-world" clinical practice setting. Marginal structural Cox models (MSCMs) can provide distinct advantages over traditional approaches by allowing adjustment for time-varying confounders such as MS relapses, as well as baseline characteristics, through the use of inverse probability weighting. We assessed the suitability of MSCMs to analyze data from a large cohort of 1,697 relapsing-remitting MS patients in British Columbia, Canada (1995-2008). In the context of this observational study, which spanned more than a decade and involved patients with a chronic yet fluctuating disease, the recently proposed "normalized stabilized" weights were found to be the most appropriate choice of weights. Using this model, no association between β-interferon exposure and the hazard of disability progression was found (hazard ratio = 1.36, 95% confidence interval: 0.95, 1.94). For sensitivity analyses, truncated normalized unstabilized weights were used in additional MSCMs and to construct inverse probability weight-adjusted survival curves; the findings did not change. Additionally, qualitatively similar conclusions from approximation approaches to the weighted Cox model (i.e., MSCM) extend confidence in the findings.
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    ABSTRACT: OPINION STATEMENT: Whereas the number of treatment options in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) is growing constantly, alternatives are rare in the case of secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS). Besides mitoxantrone in North America and Europe, interferon beta-1b and beta-1a are approved for treatment in Europe. Glucocorticosteroids, azathioprine, intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIG) and cyclophosphamide (CYC), although not approved, are commonly utilized in SPMS. Currently monoclonal antibodies (mab), and masitinib are under examination for treatment for SPMS. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and immunoablative stem cell transplantation are therapies with the aim of reconstitution of the immune system. This review gives information on the different therapeutics and the trials that tested them. Pathophysiological considerations are presented in view of efficacy of the therapeutics. In addition, therapeutics that showed no efficacy in trials or with unacceptable side effects are topics of this review.
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