Research: A change in Drug can Help when the first one starts to Fail

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Río J, Tintoré M, Sastre-Garriga J, Nos C, Castilló J, Tur C, Comabella M, Montalban X Change in the clinical activity of multiple sclerosis after treatment switch for suboptimal response.Eur J Neurol. 2012 Jan 31. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2011.03648.x. [Epub ahead of print]


Background: 
Therapy for multiple sclerosis (MS) has a partial efficacy, and a significant proportion of treated patients will develop a suboptimal response with first-line disease-modifying drugs (DMD). Therapy switch in patients with MS can be a strategy after a treatment failure. We studied the change in clinical activity after switching of first-line DMD because of a treatment failure.

Methods:  Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients treated with interferon-beta (IFNB) or glatiramer acetate (GA) were divided into (i) patients without change in DMD, (ii) patients with a change in DMD because of a poor response, and (iii) those with a change in DMD without relation with response. Annualized relapse rate (ARR) and relapse-free proportions were analyzed.

Results:  We identified 923 patients with RRMS. Of the 180 who experienced a change because of suboptimal response, 90 switched to another first-line DMT, 38 to mitoxantrone, and 52 to natalizumab. Median ARR in the pre-DMD period on first DMD and second DMD was the following: 1, 1, and 0 for switchers from IFNB to another IFNB (P = 0.0001); 0.67, 1, and 0 for switchers from GA to IFNB (P = 0.01); 1, 1, and 0 for switchers from an IFNB to GA (P = 0.02); 1.1, 1.5, 0.2 for switchers from IFNB or GA to mitoxantrone (P = 0.0001); 0.9, 1, 0 for switchers from IFNB or GA to natalizumab (P = 0.0001).

Conclusions:  In patients with RRMS who have a poor response, switch to another DMD may reduce the clinical activity of the disease.


So if you look at the relapse rate in RR Msers, where the drug fails the relapse rate (number of relapses per year) is no better but if you switch then there is a good chance that the new drug starts to have some benefit. If you take the middle reading of the number of relapses per year, this is the median and went from one relapse a year to no relapses per year (This just the average effect). So if you feel your drug is not working it is always worth speaking to your neuro

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