It is difficult to identify patients at risk of disease reactivation. So in a recent study scientists at Cerrahpasa School of Medicine, Istanbul University in Turkey compared the demographic and clinical features of patients experiencing severe disease reactivation (SDR) after Gilenya was stopped, with those of patients who did not.
The study consisted of 303 patients who had been taking Gilenya, also known as fingolimod, and were continuing the therapy for at least six months. Of those 303 patients, 44 discontinued the drug for various reasons. Among those who discontinued the treatment, 31 fulfilled the inclusion criteria and eight exhibited SDR after the drug was stopped.
The demographic and clinical features of the two groups (SDR vs. no SDR) were assessed. The mean time for SDR was 2.6 months. The annualised relapse rate before Gilenya therapy was higher in the SDR than in the non-SDR group. Although statistical significance was not attained, the mean Expanded Disability Status Scale score at the time of Gilenya being brought to an end was higher in the non-SDR than in the SDR group.
Scientists concluded that 'SDR may develop within the first three months after cessation of fingolimod. Patients with higher annualized relapse rates and lower Expanded Disability Status Scale scores before commencing fingolimod treatment were more likely to exhibit SDR.'