Plegridy: new option for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis

Plegridy (peginterferon beta-1a) is the first pegylated interferon to be launched for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS).

Patients may self-administer Plegridy following suitable training.

Interferons are classed as immunomodulators although their exact mechanism of action in MS is unknown. Pegylation (attachment of a molecule to polyethylene glycol) prolongs the circulation time in the body, allowing less frequent dosing.

Fortnightly dosing

Plegridy is administed by subcutaneous injection every 2 weeks. To reduce the incidence and severity of adverse events, it is recommended that the dose be titrated up to the recommended level. Patients should initiate treatment with a dose of 63 microgram, followed by 94 microgram at week 2, then the full dose of 125 microgram at week 4 and every 2 weeks thereafter. 

Prophylactic and concurrent use of anti-inflammatory, analgesic and/or antipyretic treatments can be considered to minimise flu-like symptoms associated with interferon treatment.

Reduced relapse rate

Peginterferon beta-1a was shown to reduce the rate of relapse in a double-blind, randomised trial (ADVANCE) in 1,516 patients with relapsing-remitting MS.

After 48 weeks of treatment with peginterferon beta-1a 125 microgram every 2 or 4 weeks, patients in the 2-weekly dosing group showed significantly fewer relapses than those given placebo, with an annualized relapse rate (primary endpoint) of 0.256 (95% CI 0.206-0.318) compared with 0.397 (95% CI 0.328-0.481; p=0.0007). This difference reflected a 36% reduction in annualized relapse rate.

The annualized relapse rate in the 4-weekly dosing group did not differ significantly from that in the placebo group (0.288, 95% CI 0.234-0.355, p=0.0114).

Post hoc analysis showed that the risk of sustained disability at 24 weeks was significantly reduced by 54% (p=0.0069) with 2-weekly dosing of peginterferon beta-1a.

The efficacy of peginterferon beta-1a was maintained over the second year of treatment. 

Safety profile

The most commonly reported adverse effects of peginterferon beta-1a were injection site reactions, flu-like illness, pyrexia, headache, myalgia, chills and arthralgia.

View Plegridy drug record

Further information: Biogen

Follow MIMS on Twitter

Sign up for MIMS bulletins

Want news like this straight to your inbox?
Sign up for our bulletins

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in

More from MIMS

Products coming soon - live tracker

EXCLUSIVE TO SUBSCRIBERS Monitor forthcoming UK drug...

New products - live tracker

EXCLUSIVE TO SUBSCRIBERS See the latest products added...

An empty tablet blister pack.

Ezetimibe supply update

Availability issues have been reported for the lipid-lowering...

Woman holding blister strip of contraceptive pills

Pharmacists across England to initiate oral contraceptives

Pharmacy Contraception Service (PCS) could allow almost...