Publication date: Dec 02, 2019
Two other MS drugs earned OKs this year, the first being siponimod (Mayzent) for adult patients with relapsing forms of MS, including clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease.
The drug was the first oral agent for secondary progressive MS (SPMS) with active disease and the first treatment specifically approved for patients with active SPMS in over 15 years.
The anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody ofatumumab (Arzerra) — approved for chronic lymphocytic leukemia but investigational for MS — outperformed teriflunomide (Aubagio) in reducing annualized relapse rate (ARR), according to two phase III studies presented at the 2019 European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) congress in September.
The trial aimed to place ponesimod within the spectrum of the oral MS drugs, “which are getting to be, more and more, the standard treatment,” OPTIMUM researcher Ludwig Kappos, MD, of University Hospital of Basel in Switzerland, told MedPage Today.
Also at ACTRIMS, an extension study of patients from the CARE-MS II trial showed that over eight years, alemtuzumab (Lemtrada) continued to show benefits in clinical outcomes, lesion load, and brain volume loss in relapsing-remitting MS. Interim data from the real-world ESTEEM study presented at the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) annual meeting in June showed that dimethyl fumarate was effective and safe for black patients with relapsing-remitting MS. And in the phase IIIb ASSESS trial, also presented at CMSC, fingolimod (Gilenya) bested glatiramer acetate (Copaxone) at lowering relapses and disease activity in relapsing-remitting MS patients.
A trial published in January showed that, in patients with highly active relapsing-remitting MS, stem cell transplantation was more effective than disease-modifying therapies (DMTs), though ocrelizumab and alemtuzumab were not included in the study.
At ACTRIMS, a small study looked at patients with stable relapsing-remitting MS who stopped DMTs and found they had similar times to relapses, inflammatory events, and disability progression as stable patients who remained on treatment.
At ECTRIMS, researchers showed that levels of serum neurofilament light (NfL) increased six years before the clinical onset of MS. Research presented at ACTRIMS indicated that early levels of serum NfL may pinpoint which MS patients are at risk for more severe disease.
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