Discontinuation of first-line disease-modifying therapy in relapse onset multiple sclerosis

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BACKGROUND: It is not known if and when first-line disease modifying therapy (DMT) can safely be discontinued in relapse onset multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the characteristics of patients who discontinued first-line DMT, and the occurrence of clinical and radiological inflammatory disease activity after discontinuation.

METHODS: We collected clinical and MRI parameters from patients with relapse onset MS in the MS Center Amsterdam and Rijnstate Hospital Arnhem who discontinued first-line DMT with no intention of restarting or switching treatment.

RESULTS: In total, 130 patients were included in the analyses. After discontinuation, 78 patients (60%) experienced disease activity. Sixty-three patients (48.5%) showed MRI activity after DMT discontinuation, 40 patients (30.8%) experienced relapse(s), and 29 patients (22.3%) restarted DMT. Higher age at DMT discontinuation was associated with a lower risk of MRI activity (45 -55 vs. <45 years: OR 0.301, p = 0.007, >55 vs. <45 years, OR: 0.296, p = 0.044), and with a lower risk of relapse(s) after discontinuation (45-55 vs. <45 years: OR=0.495, p = 0.106, >55 vs. <45 years: OR=0.081, p = 0.020).

CONCLUSION: Higher age at first-line DMT discontinuation is associated with lower risk and severity of radiological disease activity in MS, and a lower risk of relapse(s) after discontinuation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104706
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
Early online date3 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

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