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Pegylated Interferons: A Nurses’ Review of a Novel Multiple Sclerosis Therapy

Howley, Anne; Kremenchutzky, Marcelo

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: April 2014 - Volume 46 - Issue 2 - p 88–96
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0000000000000039

ABSTRACT: Most multiple sclerosis (MS) therapies are injectable drugs, and the frequency of injections has been shown to be inversely proportional to overall compliance. One method of improving therapeutic compliance and thus clinical outcomes is to develop medications that require less frequent dosing. One of the most promising modification techniques to extend the bioavailability of a drug is poly(ethylene glycol) conjugation (pegylation), which increases the size of a molecule by attaching polyethylene glycol moieties to the parent compound, resulting in slower clearance and metabolism. This approach has been used to improve the efficacy of a number of therapeutic molecules, including interferons. Peginterferon beta-1a, a pegylated form of interferon beta-1a, is currently in phase III clinical trials for relapsing MS and has the potential to improve patient compliance by reducing the number of injections while maintaining clinical efficacy. The role of nurses in educating patients about the effective use of this new MS therapy is discussed.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Anne Howley, RN, at She is a Research Coordinator at the Multiple Sclerosis Clinic, London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, Canada.

Marcelo Kremenchutzky, MD, is the Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Clinic and a Consultant Neurologist at London Health Sciences Centre and an Associate Professor of Neurology at Western University, London, Ontario, Canada.

Anne Howley has no funding sources or conflicts of interest to report. Marcelo Kremenchutzky has received consultant fees and/or grant funding from Bayer, Biogen Idec, EMD Serono, Novartis, Sanofi, and Teva. Biogen Idec provided funding for editorial support in the development of this article, Anne Williamson from Infusion Communications wrote the first draft of the manuscript based on input from authors, and Joshua Safran from Infusion Communications copyedited and styled the manuscript per journal requirements. Biogen Idec reviewed and provided feedback on the article to the authors. The authors had full editorial control of the article and provided their final approval of all content.

© 2014 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses