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Controversies in Neurology
December 1998

Interferons in the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis: Do They Prevent the Progression of the Disease?

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, University of Western Ontario, University Hospital, London, Ontario.



Arch Neurol. 1998;55(12):1578-1580. doi:10.1001/archneur.55.12.1578

THERE IS little doubt that treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) with type 1 interferons reduces the frequency of clinical exacerbations. This observation has been corroborated repeatedly. Treatment of 124 patients with recombinant interferon beta-1b (IFN-β-1b) reduced the frequency of attacks by 33.8%.1 This reduction was sustained for 5 years but both statistical significance and power were weakened in the later years of the trial, as progressively fewer patients remained in the study. The reduction in the frequency of attacks was associated with a reduction in the severity of attacks, the number of interventions with steroids, and the frequency of hospitalizations.

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