What is the role of interferon-beta therapy in the treatment of pediatric multiple sclerosis (MS)?

Updated: Jan 30, 2019
  • Author: Alice K Rutatangwa, DO, MSc; Chief Editor: Amy Kao, MD  more...
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Interferon-beta-1a and 1b appear to be safe and well tolerated in this population, although discontinuation rates are high (30%-50%) [47] and side effects common. For example, many children on interferon (35%-65%) report flulike symptoms. Other relatively frequently observed side effects include leukopenia (8%-27%), thrombocytopenia (16%), anemia (12%), and transiently elevated transaminases (10%-62%). Injection-site reactions are very common.

Dosing of interferon-beta is not established in the pediatric population. However, most patients tolerate doses titrated following adult protocols or gradual titration to 30 µg once weekly for interferon-beta-1a IM and 22–44 µg SC 3 times/week for interferon-beta-1a. Children older than 10 years tolerate full doses of interferon-beta-1b, although decreased tolerance may exist in the younger population. [48] Limited data are available on the efficacy, effect on disability progression, and MRI effect.

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