My #ECTRIMS2019 highlight #3 is the elevation of fatigue to be the first secondary outcome measure in a clinical trial. Was this genius or a marketing coup? I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when the steering committee of the OPTIMUM study made the decision to bump fatigue to the top of the secondary outcomes.
If you have MS you know that the most troubling symptom the majority of MSers complain about is fatigue. Therefore for a DMT to be able to claim it reduces fatigue is a big deal. I suspect MSers will find the promise of fatigue reduction a very compelling reason to choose one DMT over another.
The Oral Ponesimod Versus Teriflunomide In Relapsing MUltiple Sclerosis (OPTIMUM) study was positive. Compared to teriflunomide ponesimod reduced the relative annualised relapse rate (ARR) by 30.5% (P<0.0003) and 3-month CDP (confirmed disability progression) by 17% (not significant).
If you recall this study was one of the studies we asked the Crowd to predict the results of. In fact, they were almost spot-on; they predicted that ponesimod would reduce the ARR and CDP compared to teriflunomide by 33.8% (interquartile range=24.5-44.3%) and 21.2% (interquartile range=10.0-25.0%), respectively. My interpretation is that the Crowd did very well; well done!
When it comes to the S1P wars ponesimod is setting itself up very nicely to go head-2-head with newer entrants, i.e. siponimod and ozanimod. In my opinion, the safety profile of ponesimod is reasonably good, the lack of need for 1st-dose monitoring will put it alongside ozanimod in the S1P Me-Too wars. The question everyone is now asking ‘Will fatigue be the trump card?’. What do you think?