David1949 wrote:From what I understand Betaseron and similar drugs are touted as reducing the number of relapses. Is that correct or can they slow disease progression as well?
I have never had relapses in my 15 years with MS so I never started taking any of those drugs.
I should note that I'm not recommending interferon-beta. If what you've been doing for the last 15 years is working for you, then stick with it. If you haven't been doing anything special, then you might want to take a look through both the Diet and Natural Approach forums for some ideas that can easily be incorporated into a daily routine.
To answer your question, I posted some data from Avonex's doctors prescribing information pamphlet a while back.
These graphs show that Avonex does appear to have a mild affect on disease progression. Note that the numbers that Biogen (and almost any other pharmaceutical company) uses are relative percentage differences. In effect, the absolute percentage difference is 13% between the treatment group and the placebo group. However, using relative percentages, the difference is 37% which is the number for effectiveness which is usually published for effectiveness against disability progression. As you may have guessed, I'm not all that thrilled with the use of relative percentages in medical studies.