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Adherence to Interferon Beta Therapies in Multiple Sclerosis

Author(s): Emilio Portaccio | Maria Pia Amato

Journal: European Neurological Journal
ISSN 2041-8000

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 19;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: multiple sclerosis | interferon beta therapy | adherence

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune demyelinating disease of the central nervous system and the most common cause of neurological disabilities in young adults. Current available disease-modifying treatments (DMTs) are aimed at reducing the frequency of relapses and delaying the progression of disability. First line DMTs consist of immunomodulatory agents, including interferon beta (IFNB) and glatiramer acetate. All these therapies must be administered chronically and parenterally, and they are variably associated with systemic and injection-site side effects. With IFNB, a sizable rate of treatment discontinuation has to be expected at the start of therapy. Treatment suspension is often caused by the occurrence of side effects such as flu-like syndrome and injection-site reactions. Approaches aimed at reducing the number of subjects discontinuing IFNB encompass both pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions and may involve several professionals, including neurologists, psychologists, and nurses. The development of new formulations of IFNB and new injection devices has led to a significant improvement in the tolerability profile and compliance with therapy over time. Promoting adherence to IFNB therapies in MS patients represents a great challenge for neurologists and needs continued attention in the future.
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