Results of a European study in this week’s issue of THE LANCET provide further evidence that patients with early symptoms of multiple sclerosis given a weekly injection with interferon beta are less likely to progress to full clinical disease after two years follow-up. The study showed that the drug reduced patients’ loss of brain tissue compared with individuals given placebo.
Early findings from the ETOMS (early treatment of multiple sclerosis) trial (see Lancet 2001; 357: 1576-82) showed encouraging results for interferon beta in delaying the progression of full clinical symptoms of multiple sclerosis compared with placebo. The same investigators led by Massimo Filippi (Ospedale San Raffaele, Milan, Italy) and colleagues assessed whether this drug can also reduce the rate of patients’ brain-volume decrease.
After two years follow up, around a third (31%) of 131 patients given interferon beta and just under half (47%) of 132 patients given placebo converted to clinically definite multiple sclerosis.
Richard Lane | alfa
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