PCORI has identified multiple sclerosis (MS) as an important research topic. Patients, clinicians, and others want to learn how different treatment strategies, aimed at changing specific symptoms or the overall course of MS, affect patients’ symptoms and quality of life. To address this issue, PCORI launched a funding initiative in 2015 on Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. This research project is one of the studies PCORI awarded as part this program.
This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
What is the research about?
About 400,000 Americans have MS. It affects the central nervous system and can cause fatigue, numbness, and vision, bladder, and mobility problems. Relapsing-remitting MS is the most common type of MS. Patients with this type of MS experience clearly defined attacks with new or increasingly strong symptoms, like numbness and mobility problems, followed by periods in which symptoms become less troubling. Doctors prescribe oral medicines (such as fingolimod and dimethyl fumarate) to help patients with relapsing-remitting MS. Doctors and patients do not know how fingolimod and dimethyl fumarate compare at preventing relapses, brain damage, and long-term disability and improving quality of life. This study examines the benefits and harms of these two medicines from the patient point of view.
Who can this research help?
This research can help adult patients and their doctors decide which oral medicine to use for relapsing-remitting MS.
What is the research team doing?
The research team is recruiting 1,360 adults ages 18 and older who have relapsing-remitting MS. Each participant has either just been diagnosed with MS or has already tried another medicine. Before participating, each patient’s doctor must determine that it is safe for that patient to take either of fingolimod or dimethyl fumarate. Half of the people in the study receive fingolimod, and half receive dimethyl fumarate. The researchers follow up after 24 months to find out, from both the patient’s point of view and their doctor’s assessment, how the medicines compare at preventing relapses and brain damage, reducing symptoms, and improving quality of life.
The research team is getting input on the study from patients, caregivers, nurses, psychologists, health policy makers, engineers, researcher experts in the neurosciences, and neurologist experts in patient-reported outcomes.
Research methods at a glance
- Michele Schinella
- Salvatore Lico, Regional Coordinator AISM Calabria
- Micaela Auteri
Other Stakeholder Partners
- Alessandra Solari, Carlo Besta Neurological Institute;
- Ambra Mara Giovannetti, Carlo Besta Neurological Institute
- Lorena Pareja Gutierrez, Carlo Besta Neurological Institute
- Stefano Cappa, IUSS Pavia
- Giampaolo Brichetto, Italian Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, Researcher representative
- Gaetano Guglielmi, Italian Ministry of Health
- Nicholas G. La Rocca, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, American Health System representative
^Silvia Rossi, MD, PhD was the original Principal Investigator on this project.