Is Your MS Treatment Working?

Dec 26 2013

Many people with multiple sclerosis take their disease-modifying treatment with good response; they experience  infrequent relapses and no progression in disability.  Other people seem less responsive to a particular treatment and can have worsening disability. A new article analyzed and combined studies (called meta-analysis) to determine which factors predict  a good or poor response to interferon treatment.

Overall, early new MRI activity predicted worse outcome on interferon beta treatments.  For example, two or more T2 white matter MRI lesions on a scan at one year on medication predicted an increase risk in disability.  Two or more active T1 contrast MRI lesions on interferon also increased risk of disability and further attacks.  Another predictor of disability 15-16 years later was two or more relapses during the first two years of interferon treatment.

Fortunately, most people living with relapsing MS have good MRI and relapse control to their individual treatment.  This article highlights people at higher risk for being poor responders to treatment.  The article did not examine what would happen if these patients switched therapy.  However, it’s important to discuss alternative treatment options with your healthcare provider if not responding well to treatment due to new MRI activity and breakthough relapses.

Article: Dobson R, Rudick RA, Turner B, et al. Assessing treatment response to interferon-beta: Is there a role for MRI? Neurology 2014;82:1-7.


BY: Barry Singer, MD DATE: December 26, 2013 TOPIC: MS Research News