To review evidence on starting, switching, and stopping disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) for multiple sclerosis (MS) in clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), and progressive MS forms.Methods
Relevant, peer-reviewed research articles, systematic reviews, and abstracts were identified (MEDLINE, CENTRAL, EMBASE searched from inception to November 2016). Studies were rated using the therapeutic classification scheme. Prior published Cochrane reviews were also used.Results
Twenty Cochrane reviews and an additional 73 full-text articles were selected for data extraction through an updated systematic review (completed November 2016). For people with RRMS, many DMTs are superior to placebo (annualized relapses rates [ARRs], new disease activity [new MRI T2 lesion burden], and in-study disease progression) (see summary and full text publications). For people with RRMS who experienced a relapse on interferon-β (IFN-β) or glatiramer acetate, alemtuzumab is more effective than IFN-β-1a 44 μg subcutaneous 3 times per week in reducing the ARR. For people with primary progressive MS, ocrelizumab is probably more effective than placebo (in-study disease progression). DMTs for MS have varying adverse effects. In people with CIS, glatiramer acetate and IFN-β-1a subcutaneous 3 times per week are more effective than placebo in decreasing risk of conversion to MS. Cladribine, immunoglobulins, IFN-β-1a 30 μg intramuscular weekly, IFN-β-1b subcutaneous alternate day, and teriflunomide are probably more effective than placebo in decreasing risk of conversion to MS. Suggestions for future research include studies considering comparative effectiveness, usefulness of high-efficacy treatment vs stepped-care protocols, and research into predictive biomarkers.