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Acta Neurol Scand. 2005 Jan;111(1):42-7.

Neurologic consequence of delaying glatiramer acetate therapy for multiple sclerosis: 8-year data.

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1
Maryland Center for MS, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA. kjohnson@som.umaryland.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the long-term effectiveness of continuous glatiramer acetate (GA) therapy in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).

METHODS:

This open-label extension followed a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study of GA of approximately 30 months duration. Patients originally randomized to GA continued on it (group A) and those randomized to placebo switched to GA (group B).

RESULTS:

Of 251 original patients, 142 (56.6%) remained in the study after 8 years. Annual relapse rate for both groups declined to approximately 0.2 (approximately one relapse every 5 years). However, a significantly larger proportion of patients in group A had stable or improved Expanded Disability Status Scale scores compared with group B (65.3% vs 50.4%, respectively; P = 0.0263), possibly attributable to the delay of GA treatment for approximately 30 months in group B. GA was well tolerated and no drug-related laboratory changes were observed.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data support early initiation of GA therapy as an efficacious and well-tolerated long-term treatment for RRMS patients.

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