Guidelines on use of anti-IFN-beta antibody measurements in multiple sclerosis: report of an EFNS Task Force on IFN-beta antibodies in multiple sclerosis

Eur J Neurol. 2005 Nov;12(11):817-27. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2005.01386.x.


Therapy-induced binding and neutralizing antibodies is a major problem in interferon (IFN)-beta treatment of multiple sclerosis. The objective of this study was to provide guidelines outlining the methods and clinical use of the measurements of binding and neutralizing antibodies. Systematic search of the Medline database for available publications on binding and neutralizing antibodies was undertaken. Appropriate publications were reviewed by one or more of the task force members. Grading of evidence and recommendations was based on consensus by all task force members. Measurements of binding antibodies are recommended for IFN-beta antibody screening before performing a neutralizing antibody (NAB) assay (Level A recommendation). Measurement of NABs should be performed in specialized laboratories with a validated cytopathic effect assay or MxA production assay using serial dilution of the test sera. The NAB titre should be calculated using the Kawade formula (Level A recommendation). Tests for the presence of NABs should be performed in all patients at 12 and 24 months of therapy (Level A recommendation). In patients who remain NAB-negative during this period measurements of NABs can be discontinued (Level B recommendation). In patient with NABs, measurements should be repeated, and therapy with IFN-beta should be discontinued in patients with high titres of NABs sustained at repeated measurements with 3- to 6-month intervals (Level A recommendation).

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies / blood*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay
  • Interferon-beta / immunology*
  • Interferon-beta / therapeutic use
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / drug therapy
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / immunology*


  • Antibodies
  • Interferon-beta