At diagnosis, more than 80% of people with MS have the relapsing–remitting form of the disease and more than 80% of these people will develop secondary progressive MS over 25 years. Because of the lifelong course of MS, it is important to determine possible factors which could predict long-term clinical outcomes in relapsing–remitting MS. Long-term follow-up studies could help with this.

Professor Kappos and other researchers have recently published the results from a 15-year follow-up study of 290 people with MS who had taken part in a clinical trial testing interferon β-1a in relapsing-remitting MS.

Their results suggest that higher dose exposure of interferon β-1a and longer treatment time was associated with lower proportions of people with disability progression and conversion to secondary–progressive MS.

These findings suggest that higher exposure to interferon β-1a may be associated with better clinical outcomes, and early changes in the disability score may help to predict long term outcomes, in relapsing-remitting MS.

These results also suggest that starting treatment early and maintaining adherence over the long term may be important for the best clinical outcomes.

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