Long-term subcutaneous interferon beta-1a therapy in patients with relapsing-remitting MS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To conduct systematic long-term follow-up (LTFU) of patients in the Prevention of Relapses and Disability by Interferon beta-1a Subcutaneously in Multiple Sclerosis ( PRISMS) study to provide up to 8 years of safety, clinical and MRI outcomes on subcutaneous (SC) interferon (IFN) beta-1a in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Methods: The original cohort of 560 patients was randomized to IFN beta-1a, 44 or 22 mu g three times weekly (TIW) or to placebo; after 2 years, patients on placebo were rerandomized to active treatment and the blinded study continued for a further 4 years. The LTFU visit was scheduled 7 to 8 years after baseline. Results: LTFU was attended by 68.2% of the original PRISMS study cohort ( 382/560 patients). 72.0% (275/382) were still receiving IFN beta-1a SC TIW. Patients originally randomized to IFN beta-1a 44 mu g SC TIW showed lower Expanded Disability Status Scale progression, relapse rate and T2 burden of disease up to 8 years compared with those in the late treatment group. Brain parenchymal volume did not show differences by treatment group. Overall, 19.7% of patients progressed to secondary progressive MS between baseline and LTFU (75/381). No new safety concerns were identified and treatment was generally well tolerated. Conclusions: Despite the limitations inherent in any long-term study ( for example, potential differences between returning and nonreturning patients), these results indicate that patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis can experience sustained benefit over many years from early interferon beta-1a subcutaneous therapy three times weekly compared with patients whose treatment is delayed. This effect was more apparent in the patients receiving the higher dose.


  • L. Kappos
  • A. Traboulsee
  • C. Constantinescu
  • J.-P. Eraelinna
  • F. Forrestal
  • P. Jongen
  • J. Pollard
  • Magnhild Sandberg Wollheim
  • C. Sindic
  • B. Stubinski
  • B. Uitdehaag
  • D. Li
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Neurology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)944-953
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Publication categoryResearch