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Review of the clinical evidence for interferon β 1a (Rebif®) in the treatment of multiple sclerosis

Authors Manfredonia F, Pasquali L, Dardano A, Iudice A, Murri L, Monzani F

Published 11 April 2008 Volume 2008:4(2) Pages 321—336


Francesco Manfredonia1, Livia Pasquali1, Angela Dardano2, Alfonso Iudice1, Luigi Murri1, Fabio Monzani2

1Department of Neuroscience and 2Department of Internal Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

Abstract: Interferon (INF) β 1a 22 or 44 µg (Rebif®) administered s.c. 3 times a week (t.i.w) is a well established immunomodulating treatment for relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). This review focuses on its mechanisms of action, evidence of efficacy, safety, and tolerability. Several pharmacodynamic properties explain the immunomodulatory actions of INF β 1a 22 or 44 µg s.c. t.i.w. Pivotal trials and post-marketing studies proved that the drug is effective in reducing disease activity and likely in slowing disease progression. Head-to-head comparative studies with other marketed INFs β in RRMS suggested a better therapeutic response associated with higher doses and frequency of administration of Rebif®. Additional evidence indicated a beneficial effect of INF β 1a in patients with clinically isolated syndromes (CIS) suggestive of MS, as treatment reduced time to conversion to clinically definite (CD) disease. Further, although the drug did not prove to slow time to progression there were benefits on relapse- and MRI-related secondary outcome measures in secondary progressive (SP) MS. Pivotal trials, their cross-over extensions, and post-marketing studies consistently showed that INF β 1a 22 or 44 µg s.c. t.i.w. is safe and well tolerated, as adverse drug reactions are usually mild and manageable.

Keywords: interferon β 1a, multiple sclerosis, review, clinical trials, post-marketing studies

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