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Leukemia Risk From MS Drug May Be Up
Date:4/30/2009

p>In that study, people with MS were given the steroid drug in monthly pulses, or three doses over three days, in addition to regular weekly treatment with the drug interferon beta-1a. The steroid has typically been used only to treat acute MS attacks, not as an ongoing treatment.

The study involved 341 people with relapsing-remitting MS. Half of the participants received both drugs; half received only the interferon drug plus a placebo. The participants were evaluated every three months during the three-year study.

Those who took both drugs had 38 percent fewer relapses than did people who took only the interferon drug. They also improved slightly on a test of MS disability, whereas the scores for the interferon-only group decreased slightly.

The study was funded by Biogen-Idec, which makes Avonex.

More information

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has more on MS.



SOURCES: Vittorio Martinelli, M.D., University Vita-Salute, Milan, Italy; Patricia O'Looney, Ph.D., vice president, biomedical research, National Multiple Sclerosis Society; abstracts for presentations, April 30, 2009, American Academy of Neurology annual meeting, Seattle


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