[Escalating immunomodulatory therapy of multiple sclerosis. Update (September 2006)].Nervenarzt 2006; 77(12):1506-18N
The updated recommendations presented here reflect new developments in the diagnostic work-up and immunotherapy of multiple sclerosis (MS) as well as optimization of medical care for MS patients. Monoclonal antibodies provide considerable improvement of treatment, but their use in basic therapy is restricted by their side effect profile. Thus, for the time being, natalizumab is only approved for monotherapy after basic treatment has failed or for rapidly progressive relapsing-remitting MS. In contrast, long-term data on recombinant beta-interferons and glatiramer acetate (Copaxone) show that even after several years no unexpected side effects occur and that a prolonged therapeutic effect can be assumed which correlates with the dose or frequency of treatment. Recently IFN-beta1b (Betaferon) was approved for prophylactic treatment after the first attack (clinically isolated syndrome, CIS). During treatment with beta-interferons, neutralizing antibodies can emerge with possible loss of effectivity. In contrast, antibodies play no role in treatment with glatiramer acetate. During or after therapy with mitoxantrone, serious side effects (cardiomyopathy, acute myeloid leukemia) appeared in 0.2-0.4% of cases. Plasmapheresis is limited to individual curative attempts in escalating therapy of a severe attack. According to the revised McDonald criteria, the diagnosis of MS can be made as early as the occurrence of the first attack (CIS). Recommendations for optimized care of MS patients are also new, thus implementing a resolution of the European Parliament.