Expert Rev Neurother 2007 Mar;7(3):227-39
Julius-Maximilians University, Department of Neurology, Josef-Schneider-Str. 11, D-97080 Würzburg, Germany.
In 1993, interferon (IFN)-beta(1b) for subcutaneous injection became the first US FDA-approved immunomodulatory treatment for multiple sclerosis, a chronic inflammatory disease of the CNS. In this review of IFN-beta(1b), we first present a short introduction to multiple sclerosis and currently available therapeutics. We then summarize current knowledge about the biochemical structure of IFN-beta(1b), as well as pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, including data on putative mechanisms underlying therapeutic as well as adverse effects. Furthermore, a critical review of ongoing and recently published clinical trials investigating IFN-beta(1b) in multiple sclerosis will be provided. Main topics are: trials investigating IFN-beta(1b) after a first clinical event, at higher dosages or in comparison to once-weekly subcutaneous IFN-beta(1a) injections, 16 years of long-term follow-up, IFN-beta(1b) in Japanese patients, the role of neutralizing antibodies, biomarkers for the prediction of therapy response, IFN-beta(1b) and pregnancy, and IFN-beta(1b) treatment of children with multiple sclerosis. Finally, we discuss how novel drugs, especially monoclonal antibodies and orally administered immunosuppressants, might soon challenge the position of this well-established agent on the multiple sclerosis therapeutics market.