Breakthrough multiple sclerosis: Adrenocorticotropic hormone may be helpful


A study has shown that treatment with adrenocorticotropic hormone ( ACTH ) may be helpful for people whose multiple sclerosis is not well-controlled through their regular treatment.

The study involved 23 people with multiple sclerosis who were taking beta-Interferon treatment and had at least one relapse or brain scan showing new disease activity within the previous year. They were considered to have breakthrough multiple sclerosis, which means that their treatment that had been working previously stopped being effective, leading to worsening disability and more frequent relapses, as well as increased evidence of disease activity on brain scans.

The study participants were given either ACTH or Methylprednisolone as pulse therapy monthly in addition to their regular treatment for one year. The people with multiple sclerosis knew which treatment they were receiving, but the researchers examining them did not.

The participants were tested every three months for 15 months. Over that time, those receiving ACTH had fewer relapses, or 0.08 cumulative relapses per patient compared to 0.8 relapses per patient for those receiving Methylprednisolone. Those taking ACTH also had no cases of psychiatric side effects, while those taking Methylprednisolone had a cumulative number of 0.55 psychiatric episodes per patient.

These results are of interest because few treatments are available for people with breakthrough multiple sclerosis.

While ACTH has been approved for use in multiple sclerosis relapses for many years, its cost has limited its use to only those patients who are in need of a relapse treatment alternative to corticosteroids. ( Xagena )

Source: American Academy of Neurology, 2013

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