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TWO NEW drugs, apparently acting in different ways, may soon provide clinical options in treating multiple sclerosis.
Only a year ago there were no effective agents on the market to delay the course of autoimmune nerve demyelination. The Food and Drug Administration late in 1993 approved interferon beta-1b (Betaseron, Chiron Corp, Emeryville, Calif), based on data showing a significantly reduced relapse rate.
Now two other agents appear not only to reduce the remission rate but also to slow disease progression and delay the onset of physical disability, according to reports at the annual meeting of the American Neurological Association, held in San Francisco, Calif.
It is "very significant" that the drugs showed an effect on the rate of progression, says Abe Eastwood, PhD, director of research grant programs at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, New York, NY. "There has never been a drug that's had" such an effect.
Cotton P. Options for Multiple Sclerosis Therapy. JAMA. 1994;272(18):1393. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520180017006