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Neurotherapeutics. 2007 Oct;4(4):633-46.

Interferon-beta treatment for multiple sclerosis.

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Department of Neurology, Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the leading nontraumatic cause of neurologic disability in young adults. Interferon-beta, approved for use in 1993, was the first treatment to modify the course and prognosis of the disease and remains a mainstay of MS treatment. Numerous large-scale clinical trials in early, active patient populations have established the clinical efficacy of interferon-beta in reducing relapses and delaying disability progression. Although its mechanism of action remains incompletely understood, a reduction in active lesions seen on magnetic resonance imaging implies primary anti-inflammatory properties, a mechanism supported by basic immunologic research. Variation in individual patient responsiveness to interferon-beta may be due to disease variability or differential induction of interferon-stimulated genes. The magnitude of the therapeutic effect appears to be similar among products, but the optimal dose, route, and frequency of administration of the drug remain uncertain.

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