Ocrelizumab cuts relapse rates and disability progression in MS
Researchers found ocrelizumab to be more effective than interferon beta-1a for treating relapsing MS
Patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) often continue to have disease activity and disability progression in spite of treatment with disease-modifying drugs, creating a need for new therapies.
Two identical phase III trials, published in The New England Journal of Medicine (online, 19 January 2017), compared the efficacy of ocrelizumab (600mg every 24 weeks), a monoclonal antibody that targets B immune cells, with subcutaneous interferon beta-1a (44μg three times weekly) in 1,656 patients with relapsing MS.
Over 96 weeks, the annualised relapse rate was 0.16 in ocrelizumab-treated patients compared with 0.29 in interferon-treated patients in both trials (P<0.001). Ocrelizumab was also associated with a lower rate of disability progression than interferon at 12 and 24 weeks.
Another trial, concurrently published in The New England Journal of Medicine, showed that ocrelizumab also reduced rates of 12-week disability progression from 39.3% with placebo to 32.9% in patients with primary-progressive MS.
Extended follow-up in both forms of the disease is needed to confirm the long-term risk-benefit profile of ocrelizumab, the research teams conclude.
Citation: Clinical Pharmacist DOI: 10.1211/CP.2017.20202253
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