Balancing Efficacy and Safety With MS Disease-Modifying Therapies: Omar Al-Louzi, MD


The director of the Visual Outcomes Laboratory at Cedars Sinai talked about the current treatments used in MS and the risks associated with them at 2023 ACTRIMS Forum. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

“Year by year, we're seeing that we can not only provide treatments that are effective, but we can balance the safety profile of those treatments, putting our patients with MS at minimum risk.”

In recent years, there have been several therapies developed for multiple sclerosis (MS), such as natalizumab (Tysabri; Biogen), an FDA-approved recombinant humanized antibody. With the advanced therapies available, clinicians can switch out prescribed treatments to tailor to the patients' needs better both efficacy wise and safety wise.

Although with the many therapies available, clinicians may still face the challenge of trying to figure out treatment optimization and effectively monitor patients to see where discrepancies might form. On example is how researchers identified genetic variants associated with an increased risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).1 PML, a rare and often lethal brain disorder that develops in a wide range of immunosuppressed groups, can occur as a serious adverse event from exposure to immunosuppressives.2

Omar Al-Louzi, MD, an attendee of the annual Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum, February 23-25, 2023, in San Diego, sat down in a recent interview with NeurologyLive® during the forum to talk about the current state of care for patients with MS in terms of treatment approaches. In addition, AL-Louzi, director of the Visual Outcomes Laboratory at Cedars Sinai, spoke about the risks that remain with disease-modifying therapies, and as well as how they may cross over with infections including PML.

Click here for more coverage of ACTRIMS 2023.

1. Research links gene variants to medication-induced fatal brain infection. News release. Emerald Lake Safety LLC. December 14, 2022. Accessed March 16, 2023.
2. Hatchwell E, Smith EB, Jalilzadeh S, et al. Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy genetic risk variants for pharmacovigilance of immunosuppressant therapies. Front. Neurol. Published online December 14, 2022. doi:10.3389/fneur.2022.1016377
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