Long-term effects of fingolimod in multiple sclerosis: The randomized FREEDOMS extension trial

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To assess long-term safety and efficacy of fingolimod in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).


Patients completing FTY720 Research Evaluating Effects of Daily Oral Therapy in MS (FREEDOMS) were eligible for this dose-blinded, parallel-group extension study, continuing fingolimod 0.5 mg/day or 1.25 mg/day, or switching from placebo to either dose, randomized 1:1. Efficacy variables included annualized relapse rate (ARR), brain volume loss (BVL), and confirmed disability progression (CDP). Between-group analyses were conducted in the intent-to-treat (ITT) population from FREEDOMS baseline to end of study. Within-group analyses compared years 0–2 (FREEDOMS) and years 2–4 (extension) in the extension ITT population.


Of 1,272 patients (FREEDOMS ITT population), 1,033 were eligible, and 920 enrolled in the extension study (continuous-fingolimod: 0.5 mg [n = 331], 1.25 mg [n = 289]; placebo–fingolimod: 0.5 mg [n = 155], 1.25 mg [n = 145]); 916 formed the extension ITT population (n = 330; n = 287; n = 154; n = 145) and 773 (84%) completed. In the continuous-fingolimod groups, ARR was lower (p < 0.0001), BVL was reduced (p < 0.05), and proportionately more patients were free from 3-month CDP (p < 0.05) than in a group comprising all placebo–fingolimod patients. Within each placebo–fingolimod group, ARR was lower (p < 0.001, both) and BVL was reduced after switching (p < 0.01, placebo–fingolimod 0.5 mg). Rates and types of adverse events were similar across groups; no new safety issues were reported.


Efficacy benefits of fingolimod during FREEDOMS were sustained during the extension; ARR and BVL were reduced after switching.

Classification of evidence:

This study provides Class IV evidence that long-term fingolimod treatment is well-tolerated and reduces relapse rates, disability progression, and MRI effects in patients with RRMS.

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