Burning debate today at ECTRIMS


Today is the Burning Debate at ECTRIMS.

The motion is “It is inappropriate to prescribe interferon beta and glatiramer acetate for active relapsing MS”.

We are very lucky to have three experts in their field, chairing and debating the motion:

Debate Chair: Jacqueline Palace
Speaking FOR the motion: Gisela Kobelt (Health Economist, Sweden)
Speaking AGAINST the motion: Magd Zakaria (Professor of Neurology, Cairo, Egypt)

Time: 15.45 – 17:15 (90 minutes) (NB Swedish time)
Room: Hall C
Wednesday 11th September

The live audience are encouraged to participate in the session by tweeting comments and questions using #burningdebate. At the end of the two presentations, the audience can vote on who should win the debate using a Twitter poll that will be available on the BartsMS blog account.

There is already a live Twitter poll, so you can cast your vote up until the debate begins: https://twitter.com/BartsMSBlog/status/1171666961828388865 (at the time of writing this post it is currently 50-50, so a very interesting debate to be had if opinion is so equally divided beforehand.)

Why is this topic of interest to patients? Since high-efficacy treatments are now available to people with MS, this debate posits that to prescribe lower efficacy treatments is no longer an appropriate course of action for clinicians. With so many available treatments out there, patients can be overwhelmed by the variety and can struggle to understand the merits and risks of each treatment. The speakers will discuss the pros and cons of putting patients on low efficacy, versus higher efficacy treatments.

If you want to get involved, you can follow the #burningdebate when the debate is happening and contribute your thoughts and comments to the speakers. In previous years, this has turned out to be challenging, entertaining, and has put some speakers on the spot!
We will post the video of the debate on the blog when it is ready.

Why is this topic of interest to clinicians? Many clinicians follow a pattern of low efficacy until MS worsens. This has been discussed many times on the blog, and is a key part of the Time = Brain (#msbrainhealth) campaign.

Why is this topic of interest to researchers? Researchers should be kept up to date with what happens with treatments once they are licensed and prescribed. This debate could influence how researchers think about developing new drugs, or conducting studies on existing ones.

About the author

Rebecca Aldam


  • The twitter-poll could cause some confusion. When you are AGAINST the statement, you are FOR the use of the injectables for active MS. Alternatively, when you are FOR the statement your are AGAINST the use of these agents.

    Do you see my point? I can imagine that this can be the source of some confusion, especially for people in a hurry.

    • Bram, know what you mean.

      I first read the motion as a question: ‘is it inappropriate to Rx interferon etc…’
      But it’s a statement:
      ‘it is inappropriate….’

      Too right it is and agree with MD2 comment 😉

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