Interferon (IFN)-beta 1b is approved for the treatment of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) with relapses in the EU. This Cochrane review analysed all double- or single-blinded randomised placebo controlled studies that had evaluated the efficacy of IFN-beta versus placebo in SPMS. The meta-analysis included five studies with 3,122 patients in all; 1,829 of these received IFN-beta. The study concluded that IFN-beta did not prevent the development of permanent physical disability in patients with SPMS, but significantly reduced the risk of relapse and of short-term relapse-related disability. In accordance with these findings, the Danish national guidelines recommend IFN-beta 1b treatment only for relapsing or rapidly progressing SPMS. Evaluation of the beneficial effect must be done every 6-12 months and the treatment should be discontinued if progression continues.
Ugeskrift for Laeger, 2013, Vol 175, Issue 19, p. 1342-4