To the Editor.
—We wish to comment on the conclusions reached by Panitch1 in his follow-up study of patients treated with subcutaneous interferon alfa. Panitch notes that patients treated with interferon alfa experienced a reduction in attack frequency from 1.33 per year to 0.47 per year over a mean follow-up of four years. He concludes that interferon treatment was associated with "a prolonged beneficial effect." We do not agree. We find nothing surprising in the decrease in the relapse rate that was observed. The author cites McAlpine and coworkers' studies2,3 that, like other retrospective studies, inadequately estimate attack frequency. The literature4 would support the notion that the observations by Panitch are entirely consistent with the natural history of multiple sclerosis (MS). Our studies on 197 patients seen from onset of MS show that the frequency of attacks in relapsing and remitting patients declined from 1.80 per year
Weinshenker BG, Ebers GC. Systemic Interferon Alfa in Multiple Sclerosis. Arch Neurol. 1989;46(3):251–252. doi:10.1001/archneur.1989.00520390017007
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