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Published on 11 April 2008

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MS relapse rates reduced

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Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd today announced results from a three-year study evaluating relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients who failed first-line monotherapy and switched treatments.

The results demonstrated that patients who switched from interferon β (IFNβ) to Copaxone (glatiramer acetate injection) experienced a 77% reduction in annualised relapse rates (0.63 to 0.14). In addition, these patients did not progress significantly in their disability as measured by Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS).

The results of this study, entitled “Therapeutic outcome three years after switching of immunomodulatory therapies in patients with RRMS in Argentina,” were published in the April issue of the European Journal of Neurology.

The study evaluated the clinical efficacy of switching patients who responded inadequately to first-line immunomodulatory therapy.

All patients who switched among the immunomodulatory treatments benefited in terms of relapse rate reduction, however, those who switched from IFNβ to Copaxone experienced no significant disability progression, while patient disability continued to increase in patients who switched from Copaxone to IFNβ or from one IFNβ to another IFNβ. These observations may be due to the emergence of neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) in patients taking IFNβ.

In addition, proportion of patients who did not experience a relapse over the entire 3-year treatment period, increased from 16% to 68% following switch  to Copaxone. Whereas the proportion of relapse-free patients switching from one IFNβ to another IFNβ remained similar before and after switch.

“RRMS patients who respond inadequately to first-line immunomodulatory therapy, generally benefit from switching to another class of immunomodulatory therapy”, said Adriana Carrá, MD, Department of Neurology, Hospital Británico de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina, principal investigator.

“For patients switching from IFNβ to Glatiramer Acetate, the results obtained are consistent with those of previous studies demonstrating a robust reduction in mean annualised relapse rate and a stabilisation of disease progression”.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd



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