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Five-Year Data Confirm That Early Treatment with Betaseron(R) at First Sign of Disease Can Delay Progression to MS
Date:9/20/2008

- BENEFIT is first and only prospectively planned 5-year study to show long

lasting benefit of early treatment -

MONTREAL, Sept. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals announced today that new data from its BENEFIT (BEtaseron in Newly Emerging multiple sclerosis For Initial Treatment) study confirm that early initiation of Betaseron(R) (interferon beta-1b) treatment in patients with a first event suggestive of multiple sclerosis (MS) significantly delayed the onset of clinically-definite MS (CDMS) by 37 percent (p=0.003) and McDonald MS by 45 percent (p<0.0001) over five years compared to delayed treatment. The results confirm a continued benefit of initiating treatment with Betaseron shortly after the first event.(1) These five-year findings from the BENEFIT study were presented today at the World Congress on Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (WCTRIMS).

"The BENEFIT five-year results are the first and only prospectively planned data to confirm a continuous benefit over five years when treatment is initiated shortly after the earliest sign of MS," said Dr. Mark Freedman, Professor of Neurology at the University of Ottawa and investigator of the study. "These results confirm that treatment with Betaseron after the first MS event or attack can reduce the risk of developing MS over five years compared to delayed treatment."

The study also demonstrated that early treatment with Betaseron had a beneficial effect on cognition that became even more pronounced over time. At five years, patients with early treatment had better cognitive function (mean PASAT score) compared to patients with delayed treatment (p= 0.0045).(1) PASAT, or the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test, is a widely accepted tool that measures intellectual function and cognition.

"Changes in cognitive function have important implications for a patient's quality of life. Changes in cognition, along with fatigue, can be a reason for
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SOURCE Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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