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Treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis with high-dose cyclophosphamide induction followed by glatiramer acetate maintenance.

BACKGROUND: Previous studies have described stabilization of aggressive multiple sclerosis (MS) with one-time induction therapy with high-dose cyclophosphamide (HiCy). The long-term benefit of this stabilization followed by conventional therapy has not been explored.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and clinical outcomes following treatment of relapsing-remitting MS with HiCy induction therapy followed by glatiramer acetate maintenance.

METHODS: A retrospective review of a closely followed population of thirty two MS patients treated with HiCy (200mg/kg intravenous infusion over 4 days) followed by maintenance with glatiramer acetate was performed.

RESULTS: Annualized relapse rate was reduced from 1.37 in the 2 years prior to treatment to 0.27 over a mean post-treatment follow-up period of 14 months (range 0.5-33.8). The projected probability of relapse-free survival at 2 years was 0.64 (95% CI 0.37-0.82). The projected probability of Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) progression-free survival at 2 years was 0.77 (95% CI 0.43-0.92). The mean number of gadolinium-enhanced lesions was reduced from 0.86 (SD 1.6) at baseline to 0 at 12 months and 0.08 (SD 0.28) at 15-24 months. A total of 55% of patients had no evidence of disease activity in follow-up. Infectious complications occurred in 47% with no long-term morbidity and no deaths.

CONCLUSIONS: Induction therapy with HiCy followed by long-term maintenance with glatiramer acetate is well tolerated in patients with MS, and appears to be efficacious in reducing the risk of relapse, disability progression, and new MRI lesions.

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