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Interferon (IFN)-beta 1b is approved for the treatment of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) with relapses in the EU. This Cochrane review analysed all double- or single-blinded randomised placebo controlled studies that had evaluated the efficacy of IFN-beta versus placebo in SPMS. The meta-analysis included five studies with 3,122 patients in all; 1,829 of these received IFN-beta. The study concluded that IFN-beta did not prevent the development of permanent physical disability in patients with SPMS, but significantly reduced the risk of relapse and of short-term relapse-related disability. In accordance with these findings, the Danish national guidelines recommend IFN-beta 1b treatment only for relapsing or rapidly progressing SPMS. Evaluation of the beneficial effect must be done every 6-12 months and the treatment should be discontinued if progression continues.


Karen Schreiber, Ana Voldsgaard, Per Soelberg Sørensen. Limited effect of interferon-beta for the treatment of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis]. Ugeskrift for laeger. 2013 May 6;175(19):1342-4

PMID: 23663372

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