5 Star

Retired Sgt. 1st Class Frederick T. Slape hugs his daughter Montana, then 18, at her high school graduation. Three months later he was diagnosed with multiple cancers.

.

He presented data on a 17-year experience treating MS patients with the twice-weekly dosage of intramuscular IFNβ-1a at the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) annual meeting.

Baumhefner told MedPage Today that standard practice for experiencing breakthrough disease on interferon treatment is to switch them to another drug. Eighteen drugs have been approved for the treatment of MS, but around half became available within the past decade.

"The long-term side effects of these newer agents are not known, so it might be advantageous to keep many of these patients -- if they stabilize -- on a drug that has been proven to be safe for 25 years," Baumhefner said.

Several previous studies, including the PRISMS trial, have suggested a dose-response effect for IFN-β in the treatment of MS, but other studies have failed to show this. Baumhefner noted that prior studies have not addressed the strategy of doubling the IFN dosage and treatment schedule for IFN-treated patients with breakthrough disease.

A total of 107 MS patients were started on intramuscular IFNβ-1a at the MS clinic of the VA West Los Angeles Medical Center from 1995 to 2015, and 59 of these patients with breakthrough disease were switched to twice-weekly intramuscular IFNβ-1a. Fifty-two patients were followed for at least 2 years.

.
. .

“It was really scary – I would have to stop and sit down because I was so underweight.

“Doing even the smallest amount of exercise would put my body under too much pressure. There were times I couldn’t even walk.”

.

Cecilia Bernadette Chmura with her husband David Dunn. Chmura's application for medical assistance in dying was denied, and she took her own life. Photos received June 1, 2018. Supplied / Photo from David Dunn / Saskatoon

.
.