BACKGROUND: Flu-like symptoms (FLSs) and injection-site reactions (ISRs) have been reported with interferon beta treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS). We sought to obtain consensus on the characteristics/management of FLSs/ISRs in patients with relapsing-remitting MS based on experiences from the randomized, placebo-controlled ADVANCE study of peginterferon beta-1a.
METHODS: ADVANCE investigators with a predefined number of enrolled patients were eligible to participate in a consensus-generating exercise using a modified Delphi method. An independent steering committee oversaw the development of two sequential Delphi questionnaires. An average rating (AR) of 2.7 or more was defined as consensus a priori.
RESULTS: Thirty and 29 investigators (ie, responders) completed questionnaires 1 and 2, respectively, representing 374 patients from ADVANCE. Responders reported that the incidence/duration of FLSs/ISRs in their typical patient generally declined after 3 months of treatment. Responders reached consensus that FLSs typically last up to 24 hours (AR = 3.17) and have mild/moderate effects on activities of daily living (AR = 3.34). Patients should initiate acetaminophen/nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug treatment on a scheduled basis (AR = 3.31) and change the timing of injection (AR = 3.28) to manage FLSs. Injection-site rotation/cooling and drug administration at room temperature (all AR ≥ 3.10) were recommended for managing ISRs. Patient education on FLSs/ISRs was advocated before treatment initiation.
CONCLUSIONS: Delphi responders agreed on the management strategies for FLSs/ISRs and agreed that patient education is critical to set treatment expectations and promote adherence.
- Journal Article