Neurology Practice Changers 2014

Bret S. Stetka, MD; Andrew N. Wilner, MD


December 08, 2014

In This Article

More on MS: A New Goal, a New Therapy

Dr Krieger also highlighted two other areas he feels represent major, if gradual, advances this year in MS.

"I think that this year, we saw a turning point in MS research and care in two ways: First is the emphasis on 'no evidence of disease activity' as a potentially achievable goal in relapsing forms of MS," commented Krieger. "The other is the move to put progressive forms of MS front and center in clinical trials," he continued. "Both of these reflect the increasing ambitions we have to treat MS as efficaciously as possible, and to tackle forms of the disease for which we still have significant unmet need."

Krieger pointed out that in the coming months, we will see top-line data from trials on primary and secondary progressive MS, some assessing already available agents and others looking at novel compounds. "This has the potential to transform how we care for these patients in practice," says Dr Krieger.

Is an MS Generic on the Horizon?

2014 also saw a potentially important pharmacotherapeutic advance in MS. The GATE trial[13] compared generic glatiramer acetate with Copaxone® and placebo. The study found that both generic glatiramer acetate and Copaxone were significantly better than placebo, the primary endpoint being T1 gadolinium-enhancing lesions. Also, the agents were nearly identical in terms of outcomes, safety, and tolerability.

MS drugs cost many thousands of dollars per year. To date, no generic preparation of any MS drugs is available. Because glatiramer acetate is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for MS, a generic preparation could potentially (but not necessarily) decrease the cost of treatment for many patients. A lower-cost option might also decrease the number of patients who remain untreated owing to unaffordable medication costs.


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