Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 132-135

Beta-interferons in multiple sclerosis: A single center experience in India

Department of Neurology, Command Hospital Air Force, Bangalore, India

Correspondence Address:
Salil Gupta
Department of Medicine, Command Hospital Air Force, HAL Airport Road, Agram PO, Bangalore-560007
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-2327.64624

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Background: Indian-Asian multiple sclerosis behaves somewhat differently from Western disease. It is not known if the response to β-interferon is also different. Aim: To demonstrate the decrease in relapses with β-interferon in Indian patients with multiple sclerosis. Patients and Methods: Patients with relapsing-remitting or secondary progressive multiple sclerosis with at least two relapses were started on β-interferon. Results: Sixteen patients were followed up for a period of 1-3 years. Fifteen had relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS). The mean number of relapses in these patients before interferons were started was 3.4. The mean yearly relapse rate was 1.3. The mean Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) at the start of β-interferon therapy in relapsing-remitting MS was 1.7. Ten of these patients were on Avonex® (interferon β1a) and six (including the patient with secondary progressive MS) were on Betaferon® (interferon β1b). On follow-up, three patients (two on Avonex® and one on Betaferon® ) had relapses. The respective β-interferon being received by these patients was continued, with no further relapses. The remaining patients had no relapse or clinical or MRI progression after starting the drug. The side effect profile of the drug in these patients was favorable; although nearly all developed fever on the first day of the injection, only 50% of the patients continued to have fever after 3 months. Two patients developed psychiatric symptoms, requiring discontinuation of the drug. Conclusion: Our prospective follow-up study shows that β-interferons are safe and effective in Indian patients with relapsing-remitting or secondary progressive MS.

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