Interferon- β Therapy in Multiple Sclerosis
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There have been considerable advances made recently in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). In particular, interferon (IFN)β has been demonstrated in several independent, multicentre clinical trials to lower unequivocally the biological activity of this illness. The results of these trials have been remarkably consistent, demonstrating a reduction in both disease activity and cumulative disability, using a combination of clinical and magnetic resonance imaging outcome measures. Nevertheless, the importance of the total weekly IFNβ dose in the clinical management of individual patients has been controversial.
However, there is considerable information available regarding the effect of IFNβ dose on the various biochemical and clinical markers that are affected by IFNβ, which is derived both from pre-clinical studies and multicentre clinical trials. On balance, convincing evidence is provided to support the notion that there is a clinically relevant dose-response in the use of IFNβ to treat patients with relapsing/remitting MS. However, many of the clinical trials of IFNβ in MS have confounded the potential effects of dose with the possible effects of frequency of IFNβ administration. As a result, it is possible that the apparent dose-response observed in these clinical trials may be due, in part, to the more frequent dose administration schedule rather than the total weekly dose.
KeywordsMultiple Sclerosis Neopterin Experimental Allergic Encephalomyelitis Rebif Avonex
The author of this manuscript has participated (or is currently participating) in several industry-sponsored clinical therapeutic trials in multiple sclerosis. The sponsoring pharmaceutical companies for these trials have included (or do include): Biogen, Inc; Berlex Laboratories; Immunex Corp; Serono, Inc; and Teva Marion Partners. In addition, the author has lectured extensively at both medical conferences and in public on various aspects of the diagnosis and management of multiple sclerosis. In many cases these talks have been sponsored by non-restricted educational grants from one or another of each of the above-listed companies or by Athena Neurosciences.
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