Conference ReCAP

ACTRIMS 2021: Safety and efficacy of disease-modifying therapies in multiple sclerosis


In a summary of abstracts presented at the ACTRIMS Forum 2021, Dr. Mark Freedman shares that he and his colleagues found no apparent increased risk of COVID-19 with long-term use of interferon β-1a in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).


Dr. Freedman also highlights several abstracts examining the use of cladribine and ocrelizumab in older patients with MS.


A post hoc analysis of lymphocyte subsets in the combined safety populations of CLARITY, CLARITY Extension, and ORACLE-MS found that by week 96, the effects of cladribine tablets 3.5 mg/kg on CD19+ B, CD4+ T, and CD8+ T lymphocytes in younger and older patients with MS were similar, with steady recovery following nadir.


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Another study on younger and older patients treated with cladribine tablets 3.5 mg/kg found that around a quarter of both groups had transient periods of Grade ≥3 lymphopenia during the study, and the rate of certain infection-related treatment-emergent adverse events was higher in the older patients.


A single-center study found that 25% of patients in the older population stopped ocrelizumab, the most common reasons being disease progression and repeated or severe infections.


Lastly, an evaluation of older patients with progressive MS found no statistical difference in 2-year clinical endpoints for patients taking ocrelizumab compared to prior to anti-CD20 therapy.


Mark S. Freedman, MSc, MD is a Professor, Department of Neurology, University of Ottawa and The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute; and Director, Multiple Sclerosis Research Unit, The Ottawa Hospital–General Campus.

Mark S. Freedman, MSc, MD, has disclosed the following relevant financial relationships:

Serve(d) on the advisory board, board of directors, or other similar groups for: Actelion (Janssen/Johnson and Johnson); Alexion; Atara Biotherapeutics; Bayer Healthcare; Biogen Idec; Celgene; Clene Nanomedicine; GRI Bio; Hoffmann-La Roche; Magenta Therapeutics; Merck Serono; MedDay Pharmaceuticals; Novartis; Sanofi Genzyme; Teva Canada.

Serve(d) as a member of a speakers bureau for: Sanofi Genzyme; EMD Serono.

Received honoraria or consultation fees for: Actelion (Janssen/Johnson and Johnson); Alexion; Biogen Idec; Celgene (BMS); EMD Inc; Sanofi Genzyme; Hoffmann-La Roche; Merck Serono; Novartis; Teva Canada.

Received research or educational grants from: EMD Inc; Hoffmann-La Roche; Sanofi Genzyme Canada.


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