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Extending the Interval of Natalizumab Dosing: Is Efficacy Preserved?


Extending the natalizumab interval after the 24th administration could reduce the risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). The objective is to evaluate the noninferiority of the efficacy of an extended interval dosing (EID) compared with the standard interval dosing (SID) of natalizumab. It is an observational, multicenter (14 Italian centers), retrospective cohort study, starting from the 24th natalizumab infusion to the loss of follow-up or 2 years after baseline. Patients were grouped in 2 categories according to the mean number of weeks between doses: < 5 weeks, SID; ≥ 5 weeks, EID. Three hundred and sixty patients were enrolled. Median dose interval (MDI) following 24th infusion was 4.7 weeks, with a bimodal distribution (modes at 4 and 6 weeks). Two hundred and sixteen patients were in the SID group (MDI = 4.3 weeks) and 144 in the EID group (MDI 6.2 weeks). Annualized relapse rate was 0.060 (95% CI = 0.033–0.087) in the SID group and 0.039 (95% CI = 0.017–0.063) in the EID group. The non-inferiority of EID versus SID was satisfied. In conclusion, there is no evidence of a reduced efficacy of natalizumab in an EID setting. This observation confirms previous results and together with the emerging evidence of a reduced risk of PML associated to an EID, supports the need of a randomized study to assess the need to change the standard of the natalizumab dosing schedule.

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Correspondence to Stefania Federica De Mercanti.

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Figure 1S

– Flowchart of patients’ selection according to intention-to-treat and per-protocol analyses. (JPG 44 kb)

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Clerico, M., De Mercanti, S.F., Signori, A. et al. Extending the Interval of Natalizumab Dosing: Is Efficacy Preserved?. Neurotherapeutics 17, 200–207 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-019-00776-7

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Key Words

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • natalizumab
  • extended dose
  • progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy
  • efficacy