April 15, 2011

MS Treatment Reduces Relapses

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- The drug laquinimod reduced the number of instances in relapses for individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) in a long-term, phase III clinical study involving 1,106 participants with relapsing-remitting MS in 24 countries.

Participants in the study received either a once-daily oral dose of 0.6 milligrams of laquinimod or a matching placebo for exactly two years. 80 percent of those taking laquinimod and 77 percent of those taking the placebo completed the two-year study.

Patients treated with laquinimod experienced a statistically considerable decrease of 23-percent in yearly relapse rate compared to patients given a placebo. Furthermore, there was a decline of 36-percent in disability progression as well as a 33-percent reduction in brain atrophy for those people treated with laquinimod.

"These exciting results confirm that laquinimod has a significant impact on progression of disability and disease activity, while maintaining a high safety profile," lead author Giancarlo Comi, M.D., director of the Department of Neurology and Institute of Experimental Neurology at the Scientific Institute and University Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milan, Italy, was quoted as saying. "This may be attributed to the novel mechanism of action of laquinimod, which effectively and safely addressed both the acute inflammatory activity and the accumulation of irreversible tissue damage. This suggests a substantial future role for laquinimod in the treatment of MS."

Laquinimod was safe and well-tolerated. Overall frequencies of adverse events were low and comparable to those observed in the placebo group. "The incidence of liver enzyme elevation was higher in laquinimod treated patients," added Comi. "However, these elevations were temporary, reversible and did not lead to any signs of liver problems."

SOURCE: 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, April 9-16, 2011, in Honolulu