Background: In the 1990s, the beta interferons and glatiramer acetate were introduced
for treating relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. These medications have a demonstrated record
of efficacy and safety, although they require frequent administration via injection and are only
partially effective. The optimization of treatment in patients who do not respond adequately to
this first-line therapy is essential for attaining the best long-term outcomes. Switching to the recently
approved emergent therapies is a strategy to consider for treatment of patients with a
Objective: This review summarizes the mechanisms of action, clinical benefits, and safety profiles
of current multiple sclerosis disease-modifying therapies, including highly efficacious
monoclonal antibodies or convenient oral therapies, and with a special focus on the pegylated
interferon beta 1a formulation.
Methods: We reviewed the recent literature and human clinical trials on multiple sclerosis therapies
by bibliographic search in PubMed and clinicaltrials.gov.
Results and Conclusion: Although the first-line interferon beta exhibits a favorable benefit-torisk
profile, treatment compliance is compromised potentially due to its known adverse events
and frequent injectable administration. Less frequent dosing and improved pharmacological
properties have been achieved by reaction of interferon beta with chemically activated polyethylene
glycol. Provided that none of the available therapies show better effectiveness for all outcomes
and their safety in clinical practice is of a fundamental concern, the pegylated form of interferon
beta seems to keep its place as a competitive therapeutic option.