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Fatigue and cognition in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis treated with interferon beta

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Medical Update Memo
November 4, 2010


Fatigue and cognition in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis treated with interferon beta. Melanson M, Grossberndt A, Klowak M, Leong C, Frost EE, Prout M, Le Dorze JA, Gramlich C, Doupe M, Wong L, Esfahani F, Gomori A, Namaka M. Int J Neurosci. 2010 Oct;120(10):631-40.


The effects of interferon beta on fatigue and cognitive deficits were assessed in 50 patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis (recruited at a single center). The pre-treatment assessments were performed on visits 1 and 2 (Months 0 and 3). Patients started treatment with subcutaneous interferon beta-1a or beta-1b, or intramuscular interferon beta-1a at Month 3, with reassessment at visits 3 and 4 (6 and 12 months, respectively). Co-primary endpoints were change in fatigue (Modified Fatigue Impact Scale) and change in cognition (Brief Repeatable Battery of Neuropsychological Tests) from pre-treatment to visits 3 and 4. Follow-up data were obtained for 40 patients.

The pre-treatment demographic and disease characteristics did not differ between groups. Improvements in fatigue levels were reported for patients receiving subcutaneous interferon beta-1a versus patients in the intramuscular interferon beta-1a group (p = .04) and in the interferon beta-1b group (p = .09). Improvements were also reported in five out of 17 cognitive indices for all the treatment groups.

The data suggest that interferon beta may reduce fatigue and cognitive deficits in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis. Larger, randomized, and controlled studies are required to confirm our findings.

National Research and Programs
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