Oral MS drug teriflunomide shows promise

Published date: 14 Nov 2011 at 1:53PM

PillsTrial results for the potential new oral MS drug teriflunomide have found it reduces relapses and disability progression compared to a placebo.

The therapy was also found to reduce the volume of tissue damage in people with relapsing remitting MS.

The trial, known at the TEMSO study and conducted at the University of Toronto, randomly allocated people to three different groups for 2 years:

  • 7 mg teriflunomide
  • 14 mg teriflunomide
  • placebo 

Both doses of teriflunomide significantly reduced relapses rates (by over 30% per year), and there was significantly less disability progression in the higher dose group (20.2% progressed on 14 mg teriflunomide vs. 27.3% on placebo).

The most common side effects of the treatment were nausea, diarrhoea, mildly elevated liver enzymes and thinning of the hair. There also three cases of serious kidney infection in the 14 mg group, which caused one person to withdraw from the trial.

These are the first phase III results for the use of oral teriflunomide for treating relapsing forms of MS and were published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Other studies are underway that will tell us more about the long-term safety and effectiveness of teriflunomide, but this is a promising start.

Page last updated: 24 Jan 2012

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