From the Ectrims site:
An open label trial comparing the effects of IFNB-1a (Rebif®), (Avonex®), IFNB-1b (Betaferon®) and glatiramer acetate (Copaxone®) on the relapse rate, lesion load on MRI and disease progression in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis
N.S. Oztekin, M.F. Oztekin, O. Yilmaz, R. Polat (Ankara, TR)
Objective: We previously reported the results of 24 months of treatmentwith 3 interferons in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.
We now report the results of four immunomodulatory therapies after 6 years of follow up, on relapse rate, progression in disability in EDSS and disease activity measured by Gd enhanced MRI.
Method: 316 consecutive patients , with definite R-R MS and EDSS less than 5.5 were randomly assigned to receive one of the four immunomodulatory therapies.
40 age and EDSS matched patients with RRMS who did not receive any treatment were used as control group.
26 patients in the treatment group used 22 micrograms, 62 patients used 44 microgms of Rebif, 71 patients used Avonex,102 patients received Betaferon and 52 patients used glatiramer acetate(Copaxone),.
All the patients in the treatment and control groups were evaluated before treatment and every 3 months by clinical and EDSS assesments.MRI scans with gadolinium enhancement were obtained at baseline and every three months both in the four arms of the treatment group and in the control group.
Results: After 6 years of treatment 271 patients remained in their original treatment group.Compared to the untreated group(1.02) mean annualized number of relapses was significantly reduced in all the treatment groups:IFNB-1a, Rebif (22 microgms=0.69, p=0.001), 44 microgms 0.57(p<0.005),Avonex (0.61p=0.005), IFNB-1b(0.574, p<0.005), Copaxone (0.55, p<0.005). Exacerbation frequency was mean 0.472 in the treatment groups whereas it was 0.91 in the control group(p<0.01).
There was a reduction in MRI disease activity up to 45% reduction in the number of active lesions per petient per MRI scan after 6 years of treatment, while the reduction was 20% in the control group.
There was no statistically significant difference in terms of annual execerbation rate(p=0.5), exacerbation frequency (p=0.05) and MRI disease activity in (p>0.05) between the groups receiving Rebif, Avonex , Betaferon and Copaxone after 6 years of treatment.
Conclusion: The results of this 6 year open labeled study comparing the immunomodulating effects of these four therapies in R-R MS patients has shown no statistically significant difference in terms of annual exacerbation rate, execerbation frequency and MRI disease activity.