A new drug has shown promising results in a phase three trial for relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Ponesimod significantly reduced relapse rate, new active lesions and fatigue when compared with teriflunomide. This was the first controlled head-to-head study comparing the two oral drugs.
The study saw 1,133 participants across Europe, Canada, Mexico and the United States undergo 108 weeks of treatment. Those who received ponesimod had a 30.5% greater reduction in their annualised relapse rate compared with participants given teriflunomide. The results were presented at the 35th Congress of The European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) in Stockholm, Sweden.
Ponesimod works by acting on lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell that is involved in the immune system’s attack on myelin. The drug binds to receptors on the cells and this causes more of them to be retained in the lymph glands. This means that less activated lymphocytes reach the brain, and so the autoimmune attack on the brain and spinal cord is decreased. It is taken once daily as a tablet.
Source: MS-UK 07/10/2019