Can a physician predict the clinical response to first-line immunomodulatory treatment in relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis?
Zsolt Mezei,1 Daniel Bereczki,1,2 Lilla Racz,1 Laszlo Csiba,1 Tunde Csepany1
1Department of Neurology, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary; 2Department of Neurology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
Background: Decreased relapse rate and slower disease progression have been reported with long-term use of immunomodulatory treatments (IMTs, interferon beta or glatiramer acetate) in relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis. There are, however, patients who do not respond to such treatments, and they can be potential candidates for alternative therapeutic approaches.
Objective: To identify clinical factors as possible predictors of poor long-term response.
Methods: A 9-year prospective, continuous follow-up at a single center in Hungary to assess clinical efficacy of IMT.
Results: In a patient group of 81 subjects with mean IMT duration of 54 ± 33 months, treatment efficacy expressed as annual relapse rate and change in clinical severity from baseline did not depend on the specific IMT (any of the interferon betas or glatiramer acetate), and on mono- or multifocal features of the initial appearance of the disease. Responders had shorter disease duration and milder clinical signs at the initiation of treatment. Relapse-rate reduction in the initial 2 years of treatment predicted clinical efficacy in subsequent years.
Conclusion: Based on these observations, we suggest that a 2-year trial period is sufficient to decide on the efficacy of a specific IMT. For those with insufficient relapse reduction in the first 2 years of treatment, a different IMT or other therapeutic approaches should be recommended.
Keywords: multiple sclerosis, immunomodulatory, EDSS, relapse, response
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