Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS). Interferon (IFN) beta products are potent antiinflammatory and immunomodulatory agents that interfere with the autoimmune processes in MS and reduce CNS damage. Once-weekly intramuscular IFN beta-1a slows the progression of neurologic and cognitive disability, reduces the frequency of relapses and inflammatory lesion burden, and preserves cognitive function. It has a positive effect on both conventional and nonconventional measures of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and reduces the progression of brain atrophy, predominantly due to reduced grey matter atrophy. Early initiation of disease-modifying therapy after the diagnosis of relapsing-remitting MS or after a single demyelinating event (and evidence of lesions on MRI) allows patients the opportunity to obtain maximal long-term benefits.
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