An extension phase study has shown that the monoclonal antibody, alemtuzumab, remains significantly superior to inferon-beta for treatment of early, active, relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis, with safety concerns as reported previously.
Continued follow-up for five years of 198 of the 334 patients originally randomised to treatment for the CAMMS223 study showed a 72% reduction in sustained accumulation of disability and a 69% reduction in rate of relapse, compared with interferon-beta (pp<0.0001).
By month 60, patients receiving alemtuzumab had an average of 0.11 relapses per year, compared with 0.35 relapses among patients receiving interferon-beta.
Serious infections were more common in patients receiving alemtuzumab (7%) than those receiving interferon-beta (3%).
Thyroid disorders were also more common with alemtuzumab (30%) than interferon-beta (4%).
Likewise immune thrombocytopenia was more common in patients receiving alemtuzumab (3%) than interferon-beta (0.9%).
Goodpasture disease occurred in one patient on alemtuzumab, 39 months after the second annual cycle.
The researchers conclude: “Through extended follow-up, alemtuzumab remained significantly more efficacious than IFN-beta-1A, with a safety profile consistent with previous reports.”