Immunologic therapy of multiple sclerosis

Annu Rev Med. 1999;50:291-302. doi: 10.1146/


Three interferon beta preparations (Betaseron, Avonex, and Rebif) have shown efficacy in the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS). Attack frequency is reduced by 30% and major attacks to an even greater extent. Accumulating disease burden as measured by annual T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging is markedly lessened, and disease activity as measured by serial gadolinium-enhanced MRI scanning is reduced by over 80%. A fourth preparation, Copaxone, a basic copolymer of four amino acids, lessens MS attack frequency by 30% and also lessens disease activity as measured by gadolinium-enhanced MRI. Betaseron lessens accumulation of disability in MS patients with secondary progressive disease regardless of the severity of disability at the time treatment is commenced. MS is now a treatable disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use*
  • Contrast Media
  • Disease Progression
  • Gadolinium
  • Glatiramer Acetate
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Interferon beta-1a
  • Interferon beta-1b
  • Interferon-beta / therapeutic use
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis
  • Multiple Sclerosis / therapy*
  • Peptides / therapeutic use
  • Polymers / therapeutic use
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Recurrence


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Contrast Media
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Peptides
  • Polymers
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Interferon beta-1b
  • Glatiramer Acetate
  • Interferon-beta
  • Gadolinium
  • Interferon beta-1a