Antibiotic Might Help to Reduce MS Relapse Rates

An antibiotic that’s already treating certain types of infections could help to reduce multiple sclerosis (MS) relapse rates if the drug is added to interferon treatments, according to the results of a recent clinical trial.

In a news announcement from Multiple Sclerosis Today, the clinical trial was described as a small Phase 2a trial that was sponsored by RedHill Biopharma.

Study participants who had MS were given the RedHill antibiotic RHB-104 in addition to interferon beta-1a therapy for 24 weeks. After that, patients were given interferon alone, without the antibiotic add-on, and were monitored. On average, patients in the study had been on interferon therapy for five years when the study started.

Researchers reported that 88 percent of study participants were relapse free during the 24 weeks they received the antibiotic add-on therapy, and 93 percent remained free of relapses during the next 24 weeks, when they reverted to the interferon therapy alone.

Those results compared favorably to the relapse rates reported by other drug studies.

In addition, there was a decrease in median brain lesion burden at 24 weeks and an even greater decrease at the end of the 48-week observation period.

RedHill Medical Director Ira Kalfus said of the results, “Although designed as an exploratory proof-of-concept study in a very small patient population and not powered for efficacy, the study results demonstrate positive safety data and clinical signals, supporting additional studies to better investigate the therapeutic potential of RHB-104 in relapsing-remitting MS.”

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Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at

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