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Adv Ther. 2008 Jul;25(7):658-73. doi: 10.1007/s12325-008-0077-z.

Glatiramer acetate versus interferon beta-1a for subcutaneous administration: comparison of outcomes among multiple sclerosis patients.

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Teva Neuroscience, Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Erratum in

  • Adv Ther. 2008 Aug;25(8):830. Oleen-Burkey, Merry-Kay A [corrected to Oleen-Burkey, MerriKay].



We compared the outcomes of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients treated with either glatiramer acetate (GA) (Copaxone, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Israel) or interferon beta-1a for subcutaneous administration (IFN beta-1a-SC) (Rebif, Merck Serono, Switzerland).


Data were obtained from i3's Lab Rx Database from July 2001 to June 2006. We established an 'intent-to-treat' (ITT) cohort (n=845) of patients diagnosed with MS who began therapy on either GA (n=542) or IFN beta-1a-SC (n=303) and had continuous insurance coverage from 6 months before to 24 months after the date they began taking the medication. We also created a 'continuous use' (CU) cohort (n=410) of individuals who, in addition to the criteria listed above, used either GA or IFN beta-1a-SC within 28 days of the end of the 2-year-post period. Using multivariate regressions, we examined both the 2-year total direct medical costs and the likelihood of relapse associated with the use of these two MS medications. We defined relapse as either being hospitalised with a diagnosis of MS, or being diagnosed with MS during an outpatient visit and then prescribed steroids within a 7-day period. All regressions controlled a wide range of factors that have potentially affected outcomes.


In the ITT cohort, patients who started therapy on GA had a significantly lower 2-year risk of relapse (5.92% versus 10.89%; P=0.0305), as well as significantly lower 2-year total medical costs (US$41,786 versus US$49,030; P=0.0002). In the CU cohort, patients who used GA also had a significantly lower 2-year risk of relapse (1.94% versus 9.09%; P=0.0049) and significantly lower total medical costs (US$45,213 versus US$57,311; P<0.0001).


Results indicate that, compared with the use of IFN beta-1a-SC, use of GA is associated with significantly lower probability of relapse as well as significantly lower 2-year total direct medical costs. In addition, these results are more pronounced among patients defined as continuous users.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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