In a 6-month, placebo-controlled trial, oral fingolimod (FTY720) 1.25 or 5.0 mg, once daily, significantly reduced MRI inflammatory activity and annualized relapse rate compared with placebo in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS). The objectives were to monitor the 36-month, interim efficacy and safety results of the ongoing extension of this study. In the extension (months 7-36), placebo-treated patients were re-randomized to either dose of fingolimod; fingolimod-treated patients continued at the same dose. During months 15-24, all patients receiving fingolimod 5.0 mg switched to 1.25 mg. Of the 250 patients who entered the extension study, 173 (69%) continued to month 36. Most patients were free from gadolinium-enhanced lesions (88-89%) or new T2 lesions (70-78%) at month 36. Patients receiving continuous fingolimod treatment had sustained low annualized relapse rates of 0.20-0.21, and 68-73% remained relapse-free at month 36. Over 36 months, nasopharyngitis (34%), headache (30%), fatigue (19%) and influenza (18%) were the most commonly reported adverse events. Pulmonary function remained stable and blood pressure was stable after an initial increase (3-5 mmHg) during the first 6 months of fingolimod treatment; serious adverse events included infections and skin cancer. The low MRI and clinical disease activity at 6 months were maintained at 36 months with fingolimod, which was generally well tolerated by most patients. The efficacy and safety of oral fingolimod are being further evaluated in a large phase III MS study programme.
"In clinical practice, due to its presumed superiority over interferon beta, fingolimod is one of the first line therapeutic choices for highly active RRMS. Besides the positive effect on clinical outcome, previous clinical trials (Kappos et al., 2006; Comi et al., 2010) as well as the following phase III studies FREEDOMS, TRANSFORMS and FREEDOMS II have shown effects of fingolimod on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) outcomes: Gadolinium (Gd) enhanced lesions, the morphological correlates of clinical as well as subclinical relapses, were reduced in the fingolimod treatment group compared to the patients receiving interferon beta-1a or placebo. Gd enhancement indicates BBB leakage, which is one of the initial steps in the pathophysiological cascade resulting in a MS plaque. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sphingolipids are a fascinating class of signaling molecules derived from the membrane lipid sphingomyelin. They show abundant expression in the brain. Complex sphingolipids such as glycosphingolipids (gangliosides and cerebrosides) regulate vesicular transport and lysosomal degradation and their dysregulation can lead to storage diseases with a neurological phenotype. More recently, simple sphingolipids such ceramide, sphingosine and sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) were discovered to signal in response to many extracellular stimuli. Forming an intricate signaling network, the balance of these readily interchangeable mediators is decisive for cell fate under stressful conditions. The immunomodulator fingolimod is the prodrug of an S1P receptor agonist. Following receptor activation, the drug leads to downregulation of the S1P1 receptor inducing functional antagonism. As the first drug to modulate the sphingolipid signaling pathway, it was marketed in 2010 for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). At that time, immunomodulation was widely accepted as the key mechanism of fingolimod's efficacy in MS. But given the excellent passage of this lipophilic compound into the brain and its massive brain accumulation as well as the abundant expression of S1P receptors on brain cells, it is conceivable that fingolimod also affects brain cells directly. Indeed, a seminal study showed that the protective effect of fingolimod in experimental autoimmune encephalitis (EAE), a murine MS model, is lost in mice lacking the S1P1 receptor on astrocytes, arguing for a specific role of astrocytic S1P signaling in MS. In this review, we discuss the role of sphingolipid mediators and their metabolizing enzymes in neurologic diseases and putative therapeutic strategies arising thereof.
"In both the continuous fingolimod and placebo-fingolimod groups, the safety profile was consistent with that seen in previous clinical studies [6,8,14,18]. No new AEs, deaths, or fatal or serious infections were reported during the extension phase. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A 6-month phase 2 study of fingolimod demonstrated efficacy and safety in Japanese patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS). Here we report a 6-month observational extension that evaluated efficacy and safety in patients who received fingolimod continuously for 12 months or who switched from placebo to fingolimod.
Of 147 patients who completed the 6-month core study, 143 entered the extension. Those originally randomized to placebo were re-randomized to fingolimod 1.25 mg or 0.5 mg. During the extension, all patients were switched to open-label fingolimod 0.5 mg.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and relapse outcomes were maintained or improved in patients treated with fingolimod for 12 months versus those treated for 6 months. No new safety events were reported over 12 months of treatment. Infections occurred in similar proportions of continuously treated and switched patients, while cardiac and liver adverse events occurred in fewer continuously treated than switched patients. Four patients were aquaporin-4 (AQP4) antibody-positive, three of whom showed rapid disease exacerbations within 10 days of fingolimod initiation.
Continuous fingolimod treatment for up to 12 months was associated with maintained or improved efficacy and a manageable safety profile, consistent with that previously seen. Results in a small number of patients suggest lack of benefit in AQP4 antibody-positive patients. Meaningful statistical interpretation was limited by the small sample size in each treatment group, owing to the number of patients who completed the core study.Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00670449.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic immunological disease of the central nervous system characterized by early inflammatory demyelination and subsequent neurodegeneration. Major therapeutic progress has occurred during the past decade, in particular since the introduction of immunomodulatory agents, however, MS is still an incurable disease. In addition, parenteral application of the currently licensed drugs is associated with injection-related adverse events (AEs) and low patient compliance. Thus, there remains an unmet need for the development of more effective and well tolerated oral therapies for the treatment of MS. A number of new orally administered agents including fingolimod, laquinimod, teriflunomide, cladribine, and BG-12 have been licensed recently or are currently under investigation in relapsing remitting MS patients. In multi-center, randomized, placebo-controlled phase III clinical studies, all of these agents have already shown their efficacy on both clinical disease parameters and magnetic resonance imaging-based measures of disease activity in patients with relapsing remitting MS. However, there are essential differences concerning their clinical efficacy and side-effect profiles. Additionally, the mechanisms by which these substances exert clinical efficacy have not been fully elucidated. In this article, we review the pharmaceutical properties of fingolimod, laquinimod, teriflunomide, cladribine, and BG-12; and their suggested mechanisms of action, clinical efficacy, and side-effect profiles.
Drug, Healthcare and Patient Safety 02/2013; 5(1):37-47. DOI:10.2147/DHPS.S28822
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