Long-term data on interferon beta from observational MS patient cohorts
Long-term follow-up of randomized controlled studies of interferon beta therapies like BETAFERON has consistently demonstrated that earlier treatment initiation, higher cumulative dose exposure and longer treatment time are associated with better long-term outcomes [1-8].
Complementary long-term data can be found in observational patient cohorts with regular systemic patient follow-up. There are numerous independent (most often academic) registries, regional or national registries or observational studies that collect data on MS patients. Treatment allocation typically occurs in a non-randomized fashion. Studies based on these registries often apply sophisticated statistical methods, such as propensity scoring, to mitigate selection biases .
Well-designed studies and meta-analyses based on observational patient cohorts confirm the aforementioned findings from the long-term follow-up investigations of randomized controlled trials [1-8]. According to these analyses, treatment with interferon beta seems to reduce the long-term probability of disability progression (EDSS 6 or SPMS) .
Recent data from MSBase indicate that MS therapies are effective over the long run 
MSBase is a large international MS registry. In a recent analysis, disability outcomes in 14,717 patients observed over 15 years were modelled (including 1,085 patients with at least 15-year recorded follow-up) . Treated patients most likely received an injectable MS therapy (interferon beta or glatiramer acetate). Over 15 years, treatment with MS therapies reduced:
- disability accrual by 19-44% (95% CI: 1-62%)
- risk of need for a walking aid (EDSS 6) by 67% (95% CI: 41-81%)
- frequency of relapses by 40-41% (95% CI: 18-57%)
Data from MSBase: Percentages of patients reaching EDSS 6 within 15 years from 1st record 
CI: confidence interval
EDSS: Expanded Disability Status Scale
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