Switching to Oral Fingolimod From Injectable Treatment Linked to Fewer MS Relapses

Injection syringe
Injection syringe
As injectable disease-modifying therapies can be inconvenient for patients with MS, fingolimod offers an oral treatment option that is associated with significantly lower risk for relapse.
The following article is part of conference coverage from the 2018 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, California. Neurology Advisor’s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in neurology. Check back for the latest news from AAN 2018.

LOS ANGELES – Switching patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) from injectable disease-modifying therapies (iDMTs) to fingolimod, an oral disease-modifying therapy, has resulted in lower risk of relapse compared with switching to another iDMT.

Additionally, fingolimod is more convenient to administer and has fewer side effects than iDMTs. This research was presented at the 70th annual American Academy of Neurology meeting, held April 21-27, 2018, in Los Angeles, California.

These results come from a retrospective study of 2018 US patients with MS who were treated with iDMTs for a minimum of 1 year between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2015. Of these patients, 1110  switched to fingolimod, while 908 switched to another iDMT.

These 2 cohorts comprised adults of similar genders and ages. Researchers used a negative binomial regression model with repeated measures to gauge the relative relapses between the 2 cohorts during a 1-year period and identified relapses using a validated algorithm of claims. They gathered information and data for this study using an extensive database of US claims.

During the baseline period, fewer patients in the fingolimod cohort experienced relapse or showed MS symptoms compared with those in the iDMT cohort. Specifically, the fingolimod cohort showed a relapse incidence rate ratio of 0.78 (95% CI, 0.61-0.99; P =.04), indicating a 22% drop in the risk of relapse associated with switching to fingolimod.

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The authors of the study conclude that these results provide “real-world evidence to support [fingolimod] as an alternative treatment for patients on iDMT when a change in therapy is clinically indicated.”

This study was supported by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.

For more coverage of AAN 2018, click here. 


Vieira da Silva MC, Li Y, Meng X, et al. Injectable disease-modifying therapies cycling versus switching to fingolimod: a retrospective U.S. claims study of risk of MS related relapses. Presented at: 2018 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting; April 21-27, 2018; Los Angeles, CA. Poster 375.