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      Development of oral immunomodulatory agents in the management of multiple sclerosis

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          The emergence of oral disease-modifying therapies in multiple sclerosis (MS) will have a significant impact on the evolving scenario of immunomodulatory treatments in MS where current therapies are all injectable. Reducing relapses in trials translates for individuals with MS into a therapeutic aim of stopping future events. Thus the possible absence of any perceived benefits to the individual together with the long disease course, variable outcome, and a younger age group affected in MS makes side effects the major issue. The use of disease-modifying therapies as a whole needs to be placed in the context of a widening therapeutic indication where the use of these therapies is being justified at an increasingly early stage and in pre-MS syndromes such as clinically isolated and radiologically isolated syndromes where no fixed disability is likely to have accumulated. The five oral therapies discussed (cladribine, fingolimod, laquinimod, BG-12, and teriflunomide) have just completed Phase III studies and some have just been licensed. New oral drugs for MS need to be placed within this evolving marketplace where ease of delivery together with efficacy and side effects needs to be balanced against the known issues but also the known long-term safety of standard injectables.

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          Most cited references 49

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          Safety and effectiveness of leflunomide in the treatment of patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. Results of a randomized, placebo-controlled, phase II study.

          To assess the safety and effectiveness of leflunomide versus placebo in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treated for 6 months. Four hundred two patients were randomly assigned to receive placebo or leflunomide at 5 mg, 10 mg, or 25 mg daily. A washout period of 6-12 weeks from prior second-line therapy was required. Statistically significant improvement in primary and secondary outcome measures, as well as by responder analyses, occurred in the 10-mg and 25-mg dosage groups compared to placebo. Twenty-one patients (7.0%) in the active treatment groups withdrew due to adverse events (AEs). The incidence of AEs was higher with leflunomide than with placebo. Gastrointestinal symptoms, weight loss, allergic reactions, skin rash, and reversible alopecia were more common in the 10-mg and 25-mg dosage groups. The incidence of infections was similar between the treatment and placebo groups; no opportunistic infections were seen. Transient elevations in liver function studies were noted in a small number of patients. Leflunomide is effective in daily doses of 10 mg and 25 mg in patients with active RA. Improved efficacy at the 25-mg dose was associated with a higher incidence of AEs. Randomized, placebo-controlled trials using daily doses of 10 mg and 20 mg are under way in the US and Europe to confirm these positive results.
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            Treatment with interferon beta-1b delays conversion to clinically definite and McDonald MS in patients with clinically isolated syndromes.

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              Quantitative risk-benefit analysis of natalizumab.

              To model the long-term risks and benefits of natalizumab in individuals with relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS).

                Author and article information

                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                10 May 2011
                : 5
                : 255-274
                [1 ]Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK;
                [2 ]Centre for Neurosciences, Division of Experimental Medicine, Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, UK;
                [3 ]Department of Medical Statistics, University Medical Center Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Richard Nicholas, Imperial Healthcare Trust, Charing Cross Hospital, Fulham Palace Road, London, W6 8RF, UK, Tel +44 20 3311 1186, Email richard.nicholas@ 123456imperial.nhs.uk
                © 2011 Nicholas et al, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.



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