Rebif® (interferon beta-1a), a disease-modifying medication used to treat relapsing forms of multiple Sclerosis (MS), is now available in the UK to treat individuals with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), a potential early indicator of MS, announced Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. The announcement comes after the recent positive opinion adopted by the Committee of Medicinal Products (CHMP), the scientific committee of the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Rebif 44 micrograms is approved for use three times per week following an demyelinating event, in individuals at greater risk of developing MS.
Further evidence was supported by data from the REFLEX study, a phase III, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-centre human trial of Rebif 44 microgram in individuals at greater risk of developing MS.
Professor David Bates, Royal Victoria Infirmary Newcastle, explained:
"It is established that Disease Modifying Therapy (DMT) for people with multiple sclerosis is most effective when given early in the disease. The licensing of Rebif, an established DMT, for those with first symptoms of MS is another step forward in controlling the illness and give doctors an additional early treatment for their patients."
Rebif® has already shown to reduce the prevalence of MS relapses, reduce MRI lesion activity, as well as stall disease progression.
Rebif® is listed as one of the treatments funded through the NHS scheme in a recent Department of Health letter that restates the Multiple Sclerosis Risk Sharing Scheme. According to the letter, at present, there is no ban for beta-interferons like Rebif prescriptions and NHS Trust funding for patients falling outside the ABN guidelines who are considered to be in clinical need of the drug.
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the brian and spinal cord (central nervous system). MS is the most prevalent non-traumatic, disabling neurological disease in young adults. Worldwide, it is estimated that around 2 million individuals have the condition. Although symptoms vary depending on the severity of each attack, common symptoms include loss of balance, double vision, numbness, facial pain, and muscle weakness.
Rebif® (interferon beta-1a) is a disease-modifying medication used to treat relapsing forms of MS and is similar to the interferon beta protein produced by the human body. Interferons are believed to help reduce inflammation.
The most prevalent adverse effects include blood cell abnormalities, injection site disorders, liver enzymes, elevation, and flu-like symptoms.
Patients with a history of depression, liver problems and seizure disorders should consult with their doctors about treatment with Rebif.
Written by Grace Rattue