Safety and tolerability of cladribine tablets in multiple sclerosis: The CLARITY (CLAdRIbine Tablets treating multiple sclerosis orallY) study

S. Cook, P. Vermersch, G. Comi, G. Giovannoni, K. Rammohan, P. Rieckmann, P. Soelberg Sørensen, A. Hamlett, M. Miret, J. Weiner, V. Viglietta, B. Musch, S. J. Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Cladribine is a synthetic deoxyadenosine analogue in development as an oral multiple sclerosis (MS) therapy. Objective: To report in detail the safety findings from the 96-week, phase III, double-blind CLARITY study, which evaluated treatment with cladribine tablets in relapsing-remitting MS. Methods: A total of 1,326 patients were randomized 1 : 1 : 1 to two short-course regimens of cladribine tablets (3.5 or 5.25 mg/kg cumulative dose over 96 weeks) or placebo. Safety assessments included monitoring for adverse events (AEs), routine physical and neurologic examinations and frequent laboratory parameter assessments. Results: Of the randomized patients, 88.6% completed treatment with cladribine tablets versus 86.3% with placebo. Lymphopenia was the most commonly reported AE in patients treated with cladribine tablets and was anticipated based on the mechanism of action. The incidence of infections was 48.3% with cladribine tablets and 42.5% with placebo, with 99.1% and 99.0% rated mild-to-moderate by investigators. Herpes zoster infections developed in 20 (2.3%) cladribinetreated patients; all cases were dermatomal. There were no herpes zoster infections in the placebo group. Nine (1.0%) patients experienced events related to uterine leiomyomas in the cladribine tablets groups versus one (0.2%) with placebo. Three isolated cases of malignancy were reported in cladribine-treated patients during the study; a fourth was reported during post-study surveillance. A pre-malignant cervical carcinoma in situ was also reported. The incidence of malignancies during the study did not exceed the expected rate in a population standardized for country, gender and age. Conclusion: The safety and tolerability profile observed in the CLARITY study together with the reported efficacy support the potential for cladribine tablets as an MS therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)578-593
Number of pages16
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Cladribine tablets
  • Disease-modifying therapy
  • Lymphopenia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Safety
  • Short-course therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Medicine(all)


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