AAN: Laquinimod Reduces Multiple Sclerosis Activity

Reduces relapse rate, disability progression, and progression of brain atrophy

FRIDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- The immunomodulator laquinimod appears to reduce the relapse rate and delay the progression of disability in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, held from April 9 to 16 in Honolulu.

In the ALLEGRO trial, Giancarlo Comi, M.D., of the Scientific Institute and University Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milan, Italy, and colleagues randomized 1,106 people with relapsing-remitting MS in 24 countries to receive either a once-daily oral dose of 0.6 mg of laquinimod or a matching placebo for two years.

The researchers found that 80 percent of individuals who received laquinimod and 77 percent of those who took placebo completed the two-year study. Compared to patients who received placebo, individuals treated with laquinimod experienced a significantly lower annual relapse rate -- a 23 percent reduction. Treatment with laquinimod was associated with a 36 percent reduction in disability progression and a 32.8 percent reduction in the progression of brain atrophy (P < 0.0001). The investigators also found that adverse events and serious adverse events were similar between the two groups.

"These exciting results confirm that laquinimod has a significant impact on progression of disability and disease activity, while maintaining a high safety profile," Comi said in a statement. "This may be attributed to the novel mechanism of action of laquinimod, which effectively and safely addressed both the acute inflammatory activity and the accumulation of irreversible tissue damage. This suggests a substantial future role for laquinimod in the treatment of MS."

The study was supported by Teva Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of laquinimod.

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