First-line treatment of multiple sclerosis with a high-efficacy therapy may produce better long-term outcomes than does an escalation treatment approach, data from a real-world cohort study suggest.
In a population-based cohort of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) in southeast Wales, those who initiated treatment with a high-efficacy therapy had a smaller average increase in Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score after 5 years, compared with patients who started on moderate-efficacy therapy, researchers reported Feb. 18 in. These outcomes occurred “despite clinical surveillance and targeted escalation” in the group of patients who started on moderate-efficacy drugs, said first author Katharine Harding, PhD, of Cardiff University and the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff and the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport, Wales, and her colleagues. “These findings suggest that real-world escalation approaches may be inadequate to prevent unfavorable long-term outcomes and support the need for a prospective clinical trial to compare disease-modifying therapy algorithms.”
The investigators analyzed data collected between January 1998 and December 2016 from 592 patients with MS. Of the 592 patients, 104 initiated treatment with alemtuzumab (Lemtrada) or natalizumab (Tysabri), which the researchers classified as high-efficacy therapies (i.e., early intensive treatment), and 488 initiated treatment with interferons, glatiramer acetate (Copaxone), dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera), fingolimod (Gilenya), or teriflunomide (Aubagio), which were considered moderate-efficacy therapies (i.e., escalation approach).