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Decisions to Stop Taking Tysabri for MS Are Often Subjective, Study Concludes

May 10, 2017

There is buzz in the multiple sclerosis (MS) community about patients’ decision to stop taking Tysabri (natalizumab). The arguments appear to be subjective rather than objective, such as patients’ or physicians’ view of the risk.

Tysabri is an approved immunotherapy for active relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). The risk involves a severe viral infection of the central nervous system called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). However, only 664, or .4 of 1 %, of 152, 500 RRMS patients taking Tysabri through June 2016 developed PML. But some patients refuse to use it or stop taking it because of the risk.

Researchers asked 699 patients and 99 physicians whether objective measures of PML’s risk, such as the low percentage of patients developing PML, figured into their treatment decisions. But only 13% discontinued therapy. Neither the duration of the treatment nor the amount of virus in a person’s system was associated with their decision. Patient’s perception of their risk of developing PML with Tysabri and their physician’s judgement appear to be the main factors in decisions to discontinue the treatment, researchers said.

Researchers warn physicians that they should be aware of the different weighting of subjective and objective factors when advising Tysabri to their patients about the risk-benefit ratio.

Via MS NEWS TODAY