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Nat Clin Pract Neurol. 2006 Jan;2(1):34-44.

Drug Insight: interferon treatment in multiple sclerosis.

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Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic demyelinating disease of the CNS. Between 1987 and 1997, clinical trials of three preparations of recombinant interferon-beta were conducted in patients with MS, ushering in a new therapeutic era. These medications have demonstrable benefits and seem to be safe; they represent an important advance in MS treatment. All three formulations of interferon-beta had modest effects on relapses and short-term progression of disability, but the effects on MRI lesion parameters were more substantial. The benefits were greater in clinically isolated syndromes and relapsing-remitting MS than in secondary progressive MS. Although these drugs have been shown to be effective, however, their long-term impact on clinically relevant disability progression is uncertain, and there are many areas of controversy in the MS field regarding the use of these products. There is still a need for more effective treatments, which might include new agents or combination therapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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