BOSTON, May 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals
announced today the results of three clinical studies with Betaseron(R)
(interferon beta-1b), presented this week at the American Academy of
Neurology's (AAN) 59th Annual Meeting, demonstrating early efficacy,
long-term tolerability, and high patient satisfaction with treatment in
patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS).
"Collectively, these studies highlight the important clinical benefits
and long-term safety and tolerability of Betaseron treatment," said Ludger
Heeck, Ph.D., Vice President and General Manager, Specialized Therapeutics,
Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals. "Betaseron is the first immunomodulatory
MS treatment shown to significantly delay disability and disease
progression in patients with the first event suggestive of MS. In addition,
key attributes, such as a high level of patient satisfaction and
tolerability of the medication, may help improve a person's adherence to
treatment and consequently, the effectiveness of the treatment."
In the first study, known as BENEFIT(1) (BEtaseron in Newly Emerging
multiple sclerosis For Initial Treatment), immediate initiation of
Betaseron(R) treatment in patients after a first event suggestive of MS
significantly reduced the risk of disability as measured by the Expanded
Disability Status Scale (EDSS) by 40 percent(2). The results of the
prospectively designed and blinded study were measured over three years and
compared early treatment to delayed treatment, defined as receiving
treatment after the second clinical event or after two years.
The second study - known as the Betaseron 16-Year Long-Term Follow-up
(16- Year LTF) Study(3)- found long-term(4) use of Betaseron to be safe and
tolerable. The 16-Year LTF Study followed patients with the relapsing form
of MS who had already participated in the pivotal Betaseron trial, the
results of which led to the drug's approval in 1993. The long-term use of
Betaseron was associated with a delay of clinically significant disability
(e.g. time to use of a cane) and delayed onset of the secondary progressive
phase of the disease. Results from the study also found that patients who
started the pivotal trial with a lower EDSS score showed less accumulated
disability at the long-term follow-up visit. This finding offers further
support for the importance of early treatment with Betaseron. Use of
Betaseron over 16 years revealed no new or unexpected adverse events.
The results of a third study, known as BRIGHT (Betaseron versus
Rebif(R)* InvestigatinG Higher Tolerability),(5) showed that significantly
more of the 306 Betaseron patients than the 148 Rebif patients were
pain-free over 15 injections at three time points after injection (for
example: at 30 minutes after injection, 42.6 percent versus 19.7 percent,
respectively). Fewer patients treated with Betaseron versus Rebif reported
injection-site reactions. Moreover, with autoinjectors being used by more
than 92 percent of participants, there were significantly more pain-free
patients in the Betaseron group versus Rebif at all time points (example:
at 30 minutes after injection, 40.2 percent versus 16.2 percent,
respectively). More patients treated with Betaseron compared to Rebif
either had no pain or were satisfied with their treatment (76.9 percent
versus 64.1 percent).
Betaseron (Interferon beta-1b) is indicated for the treatment of
relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis to reduce the frequency of clinical
exacerbations. Patients with multiple sclerosis in whom efficacy has been
demonstrated include patients who have experienced a first clinical episode
and have MRI features consistent with multiple sclerosis.
The most commonly reported adverse reactions are lymphopenia,
injection- site reaction, asthenia, flu-like symptom complex, headache and
pain. Gradual dose titration and use of analgesics during treatment
initiation may help reduce flu-like symptoms. Betaseron should be used with
caution in patients with depression. Injection-site necrosis has been
reported in 4 percent of patients in controlled trials. Patients should be
advised of the importance of rotating injection sites. Female patients
should be warned about the potential risk to pregnancy. Cases of
anaphylaxis have been reported rarely. See "Warnings," "Precautions," and
"Adverse Reactions" sections of full Prescribing Information.
About Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals
Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc. is the U.S.-based pharmaceuticals
unit of Bayer HealthCare LLC, a division of Bayer AG. One of the world's
leading, innovative companies in the healthcare and medical products
industry, Bayer HealthCare combines the global activities of the Animal
Health, Consumer Care, Diabetes Care, and Pharmaceuticals divisions. In the
US, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals comprises the following business
units: Women's Healthcare, Diagnostic Imaging, Specialized Therapeutics,
Hematology/Cardiology and Oncology. The company's aim is to discover and
manufacture products that will improve human health worldwide by
diagnosing, preventing and treating diseases.
This news release contains forward-looking statements based on current
assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group management. Various known and
unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material
differences between the actual future results, financial situation,
development or performance of the company and the estimates given here.
These factors include those discussed in our public reports filed with the
Frankfurt Stock Exchange and with the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission (including Form 20-F). The company assumes no liability
whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to
future events or developments.
(1) Mark S. Freedman, et al: Betaseron in Newly Emerging Multiple
Sclerosis for Initial Treatment (BENEFIT): Effects of Immediate vs. Early
Onset of Interferon Beta-1b Treatment, American Academy of Neurology, 59th
(2) By proportional hazards regression, adjusted for T2-lesion volume
(3) George Ebers et al: The Interferon Beta-1b 16-Year Long-term
Follow-up Study: Predictive Clinical and MRI Markers
(4) Long-term treatment was defined as use of Betaseron for more than
80 percent of the time since the start of the pivotal trial (approx. 12
years or longer), while short-term treatment was defined as use for less
than 10 percent of the time (approx. 1.6 years or less).
(5) Karl A Baum et al: Evaluation of Injection Site Pain and Reactions
during Interferon Beta Treatment: Results from the BRIGHT (Betaseron(R)
versus Rebif(R) InvestigatinG Higher Tolerability) Study.
* Trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Rebif(R) is a
registered trademark of EMD Serono, Inc.
SOURCE Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals