Can Hormone Help Treat Multiple Sclerosis Long-Term?

             Can Hormone Help Treat Multiple Sclerosis Long-Term?

PR Newswire

SAN DIEGO, March 10, 2013

SAN DIEGO, March 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --A new study suggests that
treatment with adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) may be helpful for people
whose multiple sclerosis (MS) is not well-controlled through their regular
treatment. The study was released today and will be presented at the American
Academy of Neurology's 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego, March 16 to 23, 2013.

The study involved 23 people with MS who were taking beta-interferon treatment
and had at least one relapse or brain scan showing new disease activity within
the previous year. They were considered to have "breakthrough" MS, which means
that their treatment that had been working previously stopped being effective,
leading to worsening disability and more frequent relapses, as well as
increased evidence of disease activity on brain scans.

The study participants were given either ACTH or methylprednisolone as pulse
therapy monthly in addition to their regular treatment for one year. The
people with MS knew which treatment they were receiving, but the researchers
examining them did not.

The participants were tested every three months for 15 months. Over that time,
those receiving ACTH had fewer relapses, or 0.08 cumulative relapses per
patient compared to 0.8 relapses per patient for those receiving
methylprednisolone. Those taking ACTH also had no cases of psychiatric side
effects, while those taking methylprednisolone had a cumulative number of 0.55
psychiatric episodes per patient.

"These results are of interest because few treatments are available for people
with breakthrough MS," said study author Regina Berkovich, MD, PhD, of Keck
Medical Center of USC in Los Angeles. "Further studies, including randomized
controlled trials, are needed to validate these preliminary findings, but the
results suggest a potential benefit of ACTH pulse therapy in breakthrough MS."

While ACTH has been approved for use in MS relapses for many years, its cost
has limited its use to only those patients who are in need of a relapse
treatment alternative to corticosteroids. This is believed to be the first
study to have been done on its use as a chronic treatment for MS. ACTH is not
FDA-approved for use as chronic treatment for MS.

The study was supported by a research grant from Questcor Pharmaceuticals,
Inc., maker of ACTH.

Learn more about multiple sclerosis at

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 25,000
neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the
highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor
with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of
the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, migraine,
multiple sclerosis, brain injury, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

SOURCE American Academy of Neurology

Contact: Rachel Seroka,, +1-612-928-6129; Angela Babb, APR,, +1-612-928-6102
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