Background: MS patients of African ancestry have a more aggressive disease course than white patients and could be resistant to interferon-beta (INFB).
Methods: We studied the impact of INFB in treatment-naive Afro-Caribbean (AC) with clinically definite MS using our European Database for Multiple Sclerosis (EDMUS) (2003-2010). Main outcome measures were annual relapse rate after 2 years of treatment, proportion of exacerbation-free subjects 48 weeks after initiating INFB, and time to first relapse.
Results: 76 AC-MS (59F/17M) were identified. Annual relapse rate of 1.29 decreased to 0.83 (-35.6%) after 2 years of treatment. The proportion of relapse-free patients at 48 weeks was 46.2%. Median time to first relapse was 52 weeks.
Conclusion: INFB is not strong enough to control AC-MS patients in many cases which is problematic in a population of worse MS prognosis.
"These results need to be confirmed; we have a lot of Afro-Caribbeans living in the UK and the second and third generation, or the offspring of the original migrant population, are at high-risk of MS."
"In London, and other areas of the country, there are large numbers of Afro-Caribbeans on IFN-beta. The message is simple; if you are IFN-beta and having break-through disease it is time to switch to something else."