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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 34-38

Beta-interferon therapy in relapsing and remitting multiple sclerosis - challenges in an emerging country

1 Department of Neurology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Kochi, Kerala, India
2 Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Kochi, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Sureshkumar Radhakrishnan
Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, PO - Ponekkara, Kochi - 682 041, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2231-0738.147464

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Context: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated demyelinating disease, with an increasing prevalence in India, as is seen in the recent studies. Beta-Interferon is the most widely used treatment option. There is a paucity of studies on beta-interferon in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) in India. Aims: To study the efficacy, compliance, and side effect profiles of patients on beta-interferon, with a diagnosis of RRMS, and also look at other factors, such as, affordability, preference, and availability. Settings and Design: A retrospective-prospective design. Materials and Methods: Twenty patients with a diagnosis of RRMS were included in the study. They were followed up regularly while on beta-interferon. All patients underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain, plain and contrast, and the expanded disability status scale (EDSS) score was assessed at regular intervals. Statistical Analysis Used: Data analysis was done using the SPSS 15.0 version. Results: The mean age was 36.25 ± 12.24 years, with a female:male ratio of 2.3:1. The majority were unemployed, and hence, were dependent on their families for treatment. There was a significant delay from diagnosis to start of interferon therapy, the mean duration being 29.95 months. Oligoclonal bands (OB) were positive in 70% of the subjects. Seventeen patients were on interferon beta 1a intramuscular and three patients on interferon beta 1a subcutaneous injections. The mean relapse rates per patient before and after starting beta interferon were 1.85 and 0.55 respectively. First dose fever was the most common side effect. Headache, myalgia, and psychiatric symptoms were also seen. Periventricular and juxtacortical lesions were the most common radiological sites. Conclusions: Beta-interferon is an effective and safe therapy in Indian patients with RRMS. However very few patients have been able to continue it as a long-term therapy, due to financial constraints.

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