Glatiramer Acetate May Delay Multiple Sclerosis Onset

Early treatment shown to delay conversion to clinically definite multiple sclerosis
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Early treatment with glatiramer acetate may delay the start of clinically definite multiple sclerosis (MS), according to the PreCISe study published online Oct. 7 in The Lancet.

Giancarlo Comi, M.D., of the Scientific Institute San Raffaele in Milan, Italy, and colleagues randomized 481 patients with a clinically isolated syndrome with unifocal manifestation, and brain lesions 6 mm or larger, to treatment with subcutaneous glatiramer acetate (20 mg per day) or placebo. The patients were treated for up to 36 months unless patients progressed to clinically definite MS. The primary study end point was the length of time before clinically definite MS was diagnosed, based on a second clinical MS attack.

The researchers found that the treatment group had a 45 percent reduced risk of developing MS during the course of the study compared with the placebo group. In addition, 24.7 percent of the treatment group had a second clinical attack compared to 42.9 percent of the placebo group. The length of time for 25 percent of patients to develop MS was extended from 336 days for the control group to 722 days for the treatment group. Injection-site and post-injection reactions were more common in the treatment group as compared to placebo group.

"Early treatment with glatiramer acetate is efficacious in delaying conversion to clinically definite MS in patients presenting with clinically isolated syndrome and brain lesions detected by MRI," the authors conclude.

Several authors of this study reported financial and consulting relationships with various pharmaceutical companies.

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