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Ann Neurol. 2000 Dec;48(6):885-92.

Neuropsychological effects of interferon beta-1a in relapsing multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis Collaborative Research Group.

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Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research, Cleveland Clinic, OH, USA.


Cognitive dysfunction is common in multiple sclerosis (MS), yet few studies have examined effects of treatment on neuropsychological (NP) performance. To evaluate the effects of interferon beta-1a (IFNbeta-1a, 30 microg administered intramuscularly once weekly [Avonex]) on cognitive function, a Comprehensive NP Battery was administered at baseline and week 104 to relapsing MS patients in the phase III study, 166 of whom completed both assessments. A Brief NP Battery was also administered at 6-month intervals. The primary NP outcome measure was 2-year change on the Comprehensive NP Battery, grouped into domains of information processing and learning/memory (set A), visuospatial abilities and problem solving (set B), and verbal abilities and attention span (set C). NP effects were most pronounced in cognitive domains vulnerable to MS: IFNbeta-1a had a significant beneficial effect on the set A composite, with a favorable trend evident on set B. Secondary outcome analyses revealed significant between-group differences in slopes for Brief NP Battery performance and time to sustained deterioration in a Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test processing rate, favoring the IFNbeta-1a group. These results support and extend previous observations of significant beneficial effects of IFNbeta-1a for relapsing MS.

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