A trial combining treatments. Not really exciting but may prove useful.
Two MS drugs better than one?
Mon 17 Apr 2006 12:01 PM CST
WASHINGTON DC (myDNA News)
Enrollment has begun for CombiRx, a clinical trial that will examine the effectiveness of two medications taken in combination to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved both drugs.
Sponsored by the Bethesda, Md.-based National Institutes of Health, the study will determine if the combined use of Avonex (interferon beta-1a) once a week and Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) daily is a more effective treatment than either treatment alone.
Approximately 130,000 MS patients are already receiving either Avonex or Copaxone. For the study, 50 percent of participants will receive both medications, 25 percent will receive Avonex with a daily placebo, and the remaining 25 percent will receive Copaxone with a weekly placebo. No participants will receive just a placebo.
An estimated 400,000 Americans suffer from MS, a chronic neurological disease that affects the central nervous system. It is most commonly diagnosed in young adults. Relapsing-remitting MS, the most common form of new cases of the disease, is characterized by episodes of attacks of neurological dysfunction that occur over time.
Study chairman Fred D. Lublin, M.D., of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City — the clinical coordinating center — said that this study is especially important because if effective, the combination therapy will offer new hope in slowing or halting the progression of MS. Currently, there is no cure for the disease.
"Any advancement in treatment of MS is exciting news. The use of Avonex and Copaxone together makes sense because they affect the disease by different mechanisms," said Maria Bain, Pharm.D., M.B.A., a pharmacist in Northern Virginia.
"For now, we have to wait with hopeful anticipation for the results of the CombiRx trial to determine effectiveness and safety of the combination treatment in a large population of patients with MS."
Enrollment for the study is currently underway at clinics across the United States and Canada. For more information, call (866) 848-3088.