Prior treatment status: impact on the efficacy and safety of teriflunomide in multiple sclerosis

BMC Neurol. 2020 Oct 6;20(1):364. doi: 10.1186/s12883-020-01937-4.


Background: In this pooled, post hoc analysis of a phase 2 trial and the phase 3 TEMSO, TOWER, and TENERE clinical trials, long-term efficacy and safety of teriflunomide were assessed in subgroups of patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) defined by prior treatment status.

Methods: Patients were classified according to their prior treatment status in the core and core plus extension periods. In the core period, patients were grouped according to treatment status at the start of the study: treatment naive (no prior disease-modifying therapy [DMT] or DMT > 2 years prior to randomization), previously treated with another DMT (DMT > 6 to ≤24 months prior to randomization), and recently treated with another DMT (DMT ≤6 months prior to randomization). In the core plus extension period, patients were re-baselined to the time of starting teriflunomide 14 mg and grouped according to prior treatment status at that time point. Efficacy endpoints included annualized relapse rate (ARR), probability of confirmed disability worsening (CDW) over 12 weeks, and Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score. The incidence of adverse events was also assessed.

Results: Most frequently received prior DMTs at baseline were glatiramer acetate and interferon beta-1a across treatment groups. Teriflunomide 14 mg significantly reduced ARR versus placebo in the core period, regardless of prior treatment status. In the core and extension periods, adjusted ARRs were low (0.193-0.284) in patients treated with teriflunomide 14 mg across all subgroups. Probability of CDW by Year 4 was similar across subgroups; by Year 5, the percentage of patients with 12-week CDW was similar in treatment-naive patients and patients recently treated with another DMT (33.9 and 33.7%, respectively). EDSS scores were stable over time in all prior-treatment subgroups. There were no new or unexpected safety signals. Limitations include selective bias due to patient attrition, variability in subgroup size, and lack of magnetic resonance imaging outcomes.

Conclusions: The efficacy and safety of teriflunomide 14 mg was similar in all patients with relapsing MS, regardless of prior treatment history.

Trial registration: Phase 2 trial core: NCT01487096 ; Phase 2 trial extension: NCT00228163 ; TEMSO core: NCT00134563 ; TEMSO extension: NCT00803049 ; TOWER: NCT00751881 ; TENERE: NCT00883337 .

Keywords: Disease-modifying therapy; Multiple sclerosis; Relapse rate; Teriflunomide; Treatment history.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Crotonates / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hydroxybutyrates
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / drug therapy*
  • Nitriles
  • Time
  • Toluidines / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome*


  • Crotonates
  • Hydroxybutyrates
  • Nitriles
  • Toluidines
  • teriflunomide

Associated data