Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Neurology. 2007 Oct 9;69(15):1498-507. Epub 2007 Aug 15.

How effective are disease-modifying drugs in delaying progression in relapsing-onset MS?

Author information

  • 1Health Outcomes Research Unit, Capital Health District, Nova Scotia, Canada.



Our objective was to estimate the effectiveness of disease-modifying drugs (DMDs) in delaying multiple sclerosis (MS) disability progression in relapsing-onset (R-onset) definite MS patients under "real-world" conditions.


Treatment effect size, for DMDs as a class, was estimated in absolute terms and relative to MS natural history. A basic model estimated annual Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) change before and after treatment. An expanded model estimated annual EDSS change in pretreatment years, treatment years on first drug, treatment years after drugs were switched, and in years after treatment stopped. Models were populated with 1980 through 2004 clinical data, including 1988 through 2004 data for all Nova Scotians treated with DMDs. Estimates were made for relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), secondary progressive MS (SPMS), and R-onset groups.


Estimated pretreatment annual EDSS increases were approximately 0.10 of one EDSS point for the RRMS group, 0.31 for the SPMS group, and 0.16 for the R-onset group. Estimates of EDSS increase avoided per treatment year on the first drug were significant for the RRMS group (-0.103, 0.000), the SPMS group (-0.065, 0.011), and the R-onset group (-0.162, 0.000); relative effect size estimates were 112%, 21%, and 105%. Estimated EDSS progression was faster in years after drug switches and treatment stops.


Our estimates of disease-modifying drug (DMD) relative treatment effect size, in the context of "real-world" clinical practice, are similar to DMD treatment efficacy estimates in pivotal trials, though our findings attained statistical significance. DMDs, as a class, are effective in delaying Expanded Disability Status Scale progression in patients with relapsing-onset definite multiple sclerosis (MS) (90%), although effectiveness is much better for relapsing-remitting MS than for secondary progressive MS groups.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center