Benefit–Risk Profile of Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Receptor Modulators in Relapsing and Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

G Comi, HP Hartung, R Bakshi, IM Williams, H Wiendl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since the approval of fingolimod, several selective sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor modulators have entered clinical development for multiple sclerosis. However, side effects can occur with sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor modulators. By considering short-term data across the drug class and longer term fingolimod data, we aim to highlight the potential of sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor modulators in multiple sclerosis, while offering reassurance that their benefit–risk profiles are suitable for long-term therapy. Short-term fingolimod studies demonstrated the efficacy of this drug class, showed that cardiac events upon first-dose administration are transient and manageable, and showed that serious adverse events are rare. Early-phase studies of selective sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor modulators also show efficacy with a similar or improved safety profile, and treatment initiation effects were reduced with dose titration. Longer term fingolimod studies demonstrated sustained efficacy and raised no new safety concerns, with no increases in macular edema, infection, or malignancy rates. Switch studies identified no safety concerns and greater patient satisfaction and persistence with fingolimod when switching from injectable therapies with no washout period. Better outcomes were seen with short than with long washouts when switching from natalizumab. The specific immunomodulatory effects of sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor modulators are consistent with the low observed rates of long-term, drug-related adverse effects with fingolimod. Short-term data for selective sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor modulators support their potential effectiveness in multiple sclerosis, and improved side-effect profiles may widen patient access to this drug class. The long-term safety, tolerability, and persistence profiles of fingolimod should reassure clinicians that sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor modulators are likely to be suitable for the long-term treatment of multiple sclerosis. © 2017 The Author(s)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1755-1768
Number of pages14
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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