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Switching From Glatiramer Acetate to Fingolimod May Reduce Relapse Rates

April 22, 2016

Patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) had fewer relapses after switching from glatiramer acetate to fingolimod vs. remaining on the injectable disease-modifying therapy, results from a database study reported at the 68th AAN Annual Meeting.

"Given the growing number of DMTs available for relapsing-remitting MS, evidence to inform DMT switch decisions is needed," stated Tara Nazareth, MPH, of Novartis Pharmaceuticals, East Hanover, NJ, and coauthors.

The study's goal was to compare relapse rates among patients who remain on GA vs. those who switched to fingolimod or interferon. The study authors defined the index date for the switch from GA to either fingolimod or interferon as the date of the first observed claim for either agent and, for those in the GA-only cohort, "the index date was determined based on the first GA claim within the identification period."

A total of 6,890 patients were included in the study, 6,399 in the GA-only cohort, 363 in the GA switched to fingolimod cohort, and 128 in the GA switched to interferon cohort. Difference-in-differences analysis found that the cohort switching from GA to fingolimod had a 13.8% reduction in relapses compared to the GA-only cohort, while the interferon cohort had a 4.5% reduction.