Injectable Versus Oral First-Line Disease-Modifying Therapies: Results from the Italian MS Register

Neurotherapeutics. 2021 Apr;18(2):905-919. doi: 10.1007/s13311-020-01001-6. Epub 2021 Feb 2.


The current study aims to compare injectable and oral first-line disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) for time to first relapse, time to confirmed disability progression (CDP), and time to discontinuation using a cohort of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients, with data extracted from the Italian MS Register. This multicenter, observational, retrospectively acquired, and propensity-adjusted cohort study utilized RRMS-naïve patients from the Italian MS Register who started either injectable or oral first-line DMTs between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2017, to evaluate the impact on disability outcomes in patients. Enrolled patients were divided into two groups, namely the injectable group (IG) and the oral group (OG). Of a cohort of 11,416 patients, 4602 were enrolled (3919 in the IG and 683 in the OG). The IG had a higher rate of women (67.3% vs 63.4%, p < 0.05) and a lower mean age (36.1 ± 10.9 vs 38.9 ± 11.8, p < 0.001). The event time to first relapse demonstrated a lower risk in the OG (HR = 0.58; CI 95% 0.48-0.72, p < 0.001). However, no differences were found between the two groups with respect to the risk of CDP (HR = 0.94; CI 95% 0.76-1.29, p = 0.941), while a lower risk of DMT was found in the OG (HR = 0.72; CI 95% 0.58-0.88, p = 0.002) for the event time to discontinuation. Real-world data from the Italian MS Register suggests that first-line oral DMTs are associated with a lower risk of experiencing a new relapse and of therapy discontinuation compared to injectable DMTs.

Keywords: EDSS score; Multiple sclerosis; injectable DMTs; oral DMTs; real-world setting.