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Understanding Infection Risk With Multiple Sclerosis DMTs: Brian G. Weinshenker, MD

The professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine discussed the need for evaluating infection risk of disease-modifying therapies amid a growing MS treatment landscape.

"With COVID-19, infections have become a major issue. Many patients with MS are on these treatments and are concerned what their risk of COVID-19 is. That’s a big issue that’s been addressed by a number of registries that have been set up worldwide. I thought it was a good time to put all the information together, which might help clinicians in some of their decisions."

Brian G. Weinshenker, MD, recently presented a retrospective review of data that evaluates infection risk among different disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) at the Institutional Perspectives in Neurology: Multiple Sclerosis. He touched upon serious infections, both bacterial and viral, and ways to avoid or mitigate the risk of such infections. The data collected was from different types of studies, including randomized controlled trials, extension studies, registries, and real-world trials.

While the overall risk for infection among DMTs was low, it remains a point of discussion for clinicians and patients when creating a treatment regimen. Some DMTs, such as sphingosine-1-phosphate modulators, were shown to have a slight increased risk of serious infection, including herpes virus infections and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. Weinshenker, a professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, concluded that risk for infection increases over time for some agents with persistent administration. Notably, he also spoke about how anti-CD20 therapies were associated with an increased risk for COVID-19.

Weinshenker sat down with NeurologyLive to discuss the reasons for conducting his review, noting the pandemic’s influence, in particular. He stressed that there are several different types of infections worth researching, especially with the influx of newly approved treatments in recent years.

For more coverage of the Institutional Perspectives in Neurology: Multiple Sclerosis With Brian Weinshenker, MD, click here.