What could you do if you are in AttackMS or on natalizumab. What will you switch too


AttackMS aims to treat people with first presentation of MS with natalizumab. This aims to give the team breathing space to confirm diagnosis and help stop the second attack occuring whilst this process is ongoing. It hopes to allow repair to occur. However, what happens next is up to the individiuals who can chose to stay on natalizumab or switch to ther preferred option therefore what happens after natalizumab is of interst and is the subject of the people from MSBase, which is a large registry of people with MS. Natalizumab is a break to stop relapse occuring but if you wait too long the effct wears off and disease can reappear. So what happens if you switch? Well isn’t it obvious? If you go from a high to a high efficacy you will far better (four times better) than going from a high to modest efficacy agent. If you are switching it is either due to disease break through or due to JC virus risk.

Comparison Between Dimethyl Fumarate, Fingolimod, and Ocrelizumab After Natalizumab Cessation.

Zhu C et al. MSBase Study Group.JAMA Neurol. 2023. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2023.1542.

Importance: Natalizumab cessation is associated with a risk of rebound disease activity. It is important to identify the optimal switch disease-modifying therapy strategy after natalizumab to limit the risk of severe relapses.

Objectives: To compare the effectiveness and persistence of dimethyl fumarate, fingolimod, and ocrelizumab among patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) who discontinued natalizumab.

Design, setting, and participants: In this observational cohort study, patient data were collected from the MSBase registry between June 15, 2010, and July 6, 2021. The median follow-up was 2.7 years. This was a multicenter study that included patients with RRMS who had used natalizumab for 6 months or longer and then were switched to dimethyl fumarate, fingolimod, or ocrelizumab within 3 months after natalizumab discontinuation. Patients without baseline data were excluded from the analysis. Data were analyzed from May 24, 2022, to January 9, 2023.

Exposures: Dimethyl fumarate, fingolimod, and ocrelizumab.

Main outcomes and measures: Primary outcomes were annualized relapse rate (ARR) and time to first relapse. Secondary outcomes were confirmed disability accumulation, disability improvement, and subsequent treatment discontinuation, with the comparisons for the first 2 limited to fingolimod and ocrelizumab due to the small number of patients taking dimethyl fumarate. The associations were analyzed after balancing covariates using an inverse probability of treatment weighting method.

Results: Among 66 840 patients with RRMS, 1744 had used natalizumab for 6 months or longer and were switched to dimethyl fumarate, fingolimod, or ocrelizumab within 3 months of natalizumab discontinuation. After excluding 358 patients without baseline data, a total of 1386 patients (mean [SD] age, 41.3 [10.6] years; 990 female [71%]) switched to dimethyl fumarate (138 [9.9%]), fingolimod (823 [59.4%]), or ocrelizumab (425 [30.7%]) after natalizumab. The ARR for each medication was as follows: ocrelizumab, 0.06 (95% CI, 0.04-0.08); fingolimod, 0.26 (95% CI, 0.12-0.48); and dimethyl fumarate, 0.27 (95% CI, 0.12-0.56). The ARR ratio of fingolimod to ocrelizumab was 4.33 (95% CI, 3.12-6.01) and of dimethyl fumarate to ocrelizumab was 4.50 (95% CI, 2.89-7.03). Compared with ocrelizumab, the hazard ratio (HR) of time to first relapse was 4.02 (95% CI, 2.83-5.70) for fingolimod and 3.70 (95% CI, 2.35-5.84) for dimethyl fumarate. The HR of treatment discontinuation was 2.57 (95% CI, 1.74-3.80) for fingolimod and 4.26 (95% CI, 2.65-6.84) for dimethyl fumarate. Fingolimod use was associated with a 49% higher risk for disability accumulation compared with ocrelizumab. There was no significant difference in disability improvement rates between fingolimod and ocrelizumab.

Conclusion and relevance: Study results show that among patients with RRMS who switched from natalizumab to dimethyl fumarate, fingolimod, or ocrelizumab, ocrelizumab use was associated with the lowest ARR and discontinuation rates, and the longest time to first relapse.

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