ABSTRACT: Cladribine, an immunosuppressant that selectively reduces peripheral lymphocyte levels, has potential as an oral therapy for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. An oral (tablet) formulation is being investigated in clinical trials. In the large, well designed, phase III CLARITY trial, short-course treatment with oral cladribine (cumulative dose of 3.5 or 5.25 mg/kg) resulted in a significantly greater reduction in annualized relapse rates at 96 weeks compared with placebo in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Improvements in the annualized relapse rate with oral cladribine were independent of key baseline patient characteristics which included age, sex, previous treatment with disease-modifying drugs and the number of relapses in the previous 12 months. In addition, a significantly higher proportion of patients were relapse-free at 96 weeks and there were significant reductions in the risk of 3-month sustained progression of disability in cladribine recipients compared with placebo recipients. The mean numbers of brain lesions on magnetic resonance imaging were also significantly reduced with cladribine compared with placebo in the CLARITY trial. Lymphocytopenia, herpes zoster infections and neoplasms (including malignancies) were more common in cladribine than placebo recipients.
CNS Drugs 03/2011; 25(3):239-49. · 4.80 Impact Factor