MSperceptions: Candid HCP/Patient Clinical Conversations About MS

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MSperceptions: Candid HCP/Patient Clinical Conversations About MS

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MS can disrupt many aspects of a patient’s quality of life (QoL), and the impact may not always be visible to their HCP and others.1 How are you measuring QoL in your MS patients?

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Important Safety Information, including Boxed Warning for PML, below.

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  • Overview

    Patients living with MS can experience hidden or invisible symptoms that may not be apparent to others but can affect how they feel and function. In this podcast, Dr. Barry Singer, the Director at the Multiple Sclerosis Center for Innovations in Care, and Rosario, a patient who has been living with MS for 10 years, discuss their clinical and personal experiences with MS, and the impact that MS can have on a patient's QoL.

    In the 2-year AFFIRM pivotal trial: Relapsing MS patients received 300 mg TYSABRI every 28 days (n=627) or placebo (n=315). Patients with PPMS, SPMS, and PRMS were excluded.2,3

    83% of patients taking TYSABRI had no sustained disability progression for 12 weeks vs 71% with placebo (primary endpoint: 17% vs 29%; p<0.001).2,3

    Dr. Singer reviews the results of a recent publication from Hersh et al, which describes the effect of TYSABRI® (natalizumab) on various aspects of a patient’s QoL. In the study, 164 patients reported their experience after starting TYSABRI using a standard Quality of Life in Neurological Disorders (Neuro-QoL) assessment of 12 domains, which included anxiety, depression, positive affect and well-being, emotional and behavioral dyscontrol, stigma, cognitive function, sleep disturbance, fatigue, participation and satisfaction with social roles and activities, and upper and lower extremity function.4 Data were collected at routine visits from a large, real-world cohort of MS patients from 10 healthcare institutions in three countries, including the US.5

    This study looked at 2 groups of MS patients, the overall population and within that group the patients with baseline impairment. Baseline impairment was defined as a T-score ≥55 for negatively worded domains or a T-score ≤45 for positively worded domains within one year prior to the patient’s first dose of TYSABRI. A T-score of 50 for each domain represents the average in a reference population.4

    The percentage of patients with clinically meaningful (≥5-point) improvement or worsening in T-scores by the last available Neuro-QoL was calculated for both groups.4

    Clinically meaningful change in Neuro-QoL T-Scores (Overall Population)4:

    Sleep disturbance* (n=164): 32% improved, 52% stable, 16% worsened; Anxiety* (n=164): 27% improved, 52% stable, 21% worsened; Emotional and behavioral dyscontrol* (n=150): 26% improved, 51% stable, 23% worsened; Positive affect and well-being* (n=150): 24% improved, 65% stable, 11% worsened; Stigma* (n=164): 24% improved, 68% stable, 7% worsened; Cognitive function* (n=164): 22% improved, 63% stable, 15% worsened; Fatigue* (n=164): 22% improved, 62% stable, 15% worsened; Depression* (n=164): 22% improved, 65% stable, 13% worsened; Participation in social roles and activities (n=164): 18% improved, 65% stable, 18% worsened; Satisfaction with social roles and activities* (n=164): 18% improved, 72% stable, 10% worsened; Upper extremity function* (n=164): 14% improved, 75% stable, 11% worsened; Lower extremity function (n=164): 10% improved, 79% stable, 10% worsened.

    Clinically meaningful improvement was exhibited by a higher percentage of patients with baseline impairment compared with the overall TYSABRI-treated population for most domains.4

    Clinically meaningful change in Neuro-QoL T-Scores (Patients with Neuro-QoL baseline impairment)4:

    Sleep disturbance* (n=75): 36% improved, 59% stable, 5% worsened; Anxiety* (n=69): 33% improved, 57% stable, 10% worsened; Emotional and behavioral dyscontrol* (n=56): 39% improved, 54% stable, 7% worsened; Positive affect and well-being* (n=23): 43% improved, 57% stable, 0% worsened; Stigma* (n=37): 30% improved, 65% stable, 5% worsened; Cognitive function* (n=89): 26% improved, 63% stable, 11% worsened; Fatigue* (n=70): 27% improved, 67% stable, 6% worsened; Depression* (n=33): 30% improved, 67% stable, 3% worsened; Participation in social roles and activities* (n=82): 21% improved, 78% stable, 1% worsened; Satisfaction with social roles and activities* (n=76): 16% improved, 82% stable, 3% worsened; Upper extremity function* (n=81): 14% improved, 80% stable, 6% worsened; Lower extremity function* (n=63): 13% improved, 79% stable, 8% worsened.

    *Indicates that more patients achieved clinically meaningful improvement than worsening.4

    PPMS=primary progressive multiple sclerosis; PRMS=progressive relapsing multiple sclerosis; SPMS=secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

    Please see Important Safety Information, including Boxed Warning for PML, below.


    TYSABRI® (natalizumab) is indicated as monotherapy for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, to include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults. TYSABRI increases the risk of PML. When initiating and continuing treatment with TYSABRI, physicians should consider whether the expected benefit of TYSABRI is sufficient to offset this risk.


    WARNING: Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML)

    TYSABRI® (natalizumab) increases the risk of PML, an opportunistic viral infection of the brain that usually leads to death or severe disability. Risk factors for the development of PML include the presence of anti-JCV antibodies, duration of therapy, and prior use of immunosuppressants. These factors should be considered in the context of expected benefit when initiating and continuing treatment with TYSABRI.

    Healthcare professionals should monitor patients on TYSABRI for any new sign or symptom that may be suggestive of PML. TYSABRI dosing should be withheld immediately at the first sign or symptom suggestive of PML. For diagnosis, an evaluation including a gadolinium-enhanced MRI scan of the brain and, when indicated, cerebrospinal fluid analysis for JC viral DNA are recommended.

    Because of the risk of PML, TYSABRI is available only through a restricted program under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) called the TOUCH® Prescribing Program.

    • Infection by the JC Virus (JCV) is required for the development of PML
    • There are no known interventions that can reliably prevent PML or that can adequately treat PML if it occurs
    • Postmarketing data suggest that the risk of developing PML may be associated with relative levels of serum anti-JCV antibody compared to a calibrator as measured by ELISA (often described as an anti-JCV antibody index value)
    • MRI findings may be apparent before clinical signs or symptoms suggestive of PML. Monitoring with MRI for signs that may be consistent with PML may be useful, and any suspicious findings should lead to further investigation to allow for an early diagnosis of PML, if present. Consider monitoring patients at high risk for PML more frequently. Lower PML-related mortality and morbidity have been reported following TYSABRI discontinuation in patients with PML who were initially asymptomatic compared to patients with PML who had characteristic clinical signs and symptoms at diagnosis
    • PML has been reported after discontinuation of TYSABRI in patients who did not have findings suggestive of PML at the time of discontinuation. Patients should continue to be monitored for any new signs or symptoms that may be suggestive of PML for at least 6 months after discontinuation of TYSABRI
    • Adverse events that may occur during plasma exchange (PLEX) include clearance of other medications and volume shifts, which have the potential to lead to hypotension or pulmonary edema. Although PLEX has not been prospectively studied in TYSABRI-treated patients with PML, it has been used in such patients in the postmarketing setting to remove TYSABRI more quickly from the circulation. There is no evidence that PLEX has any benefit in the treatment of opportunistic infections such as PML
    • JCV infection of granule cell neurons in the cerebellum, i.e., JCV granule cell neuronopathy (GCN), with symptoms similar to PML, has been reported in patients treated with TYSABRI. JCV GCN can occur with or without concomitant PML and can cause cerebellar dysfunction. Diagnosis and management of JCV GCN should follow guidance provided for PML
    • Immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) has been reported in the majority of TYSABRI-treated patients who developed PML and subsequently discontinued TYSABRI. In almost all cases, IRIS occurred after PLEX was used to eliminate circulating TYSABRI. It presents as a clinical decline in the patient’s condition after TYSABRI removal (and, in some cases, after apparent clinical improvement) that may be rapid, can lead to serious neurological complications or death, and is often associated with characteristic changes in the MRI. TYSABRI has not been associated with IRIS in patients discontinuing treatment with TYSABRI for reasons unrelated to PML. In TYSABRI-treated patients with PML, IRIS has been reported within days to several weeks after PLEX. Monitoring for development of IRIS and appropriate treatment of the associated inflammation should be undertaken


    • TYSABRI is contraindicated in patients who have or have had PML
    • TYSABRI is contraindicated in patients who have had a hypersensitivity reaction to TYSABRI

    TYSABRI TOUCH Prescribing Program

    • Because of the risk of PML, TYSABRI is available only through a restricted distribution program under a REMS called the TOUCH® Prescribing Program
    • Patients must be enrolled in the TOUCH Prescribing Program, read the Medication Guide, understand the risks associated with TYSABRI, and complete and sign the Patient-Prescriber Enrollment Form

    Herpes Infections – Encephalitis, Meningitis and Acute Retinal Necrosis

    • TYSABRI increases the risk of developing encephalitis and meningitis caused by herpes simplex and varicella zoster viruses
    • Serious, life-threatening, and sometimes fatal cases have been reported in the postmarketing setting in multiple sclerosis patients receiving TYSABRI
    • The duration of treatment with TYSABRI prior to onset ranged from a few months to several years
    • Monitor patients receiving TYSABRI for signs and symptoms of meningitis and encephalitis. If herpes encephalitis or meningitis occurs, TYSABRI should be discontinued, and appropriate treatment for herpes encephalitis/meningitis should be administered
    • Patients being administered TYSABRI are at a higher risk of acute retinal necrosis (ARN), a fulminant viral infection of the retina caused by the family of herpes viruses. Patients with eye symptoms such as decreased visual acuity, redness or eye pain should be referred for retinal screening as serious cases of ARN can lead to blindness of one or both eyes
    • Following clinical diagnosis of ARN, consider discontinuation of TYSABRI


    • Clinically significant liver injury, including acute liver failure requiring transplant, has been reported in patients treated with TYSABRI in the postmarketing setting
    • Signs of liver injury, including markedly elevated serum hepatic enzymes and elevated total bilirubin, occurred as early as six days after the first dose; signs of liver injury have also been reported for the first time after multiple doses
    • TYSABRI should be discontinued in patients with jaundice or other evidence of significant liver injury (e.g., laboratory evidence)

    Hypersensitivity/Antibody Formation

    • Hypersensitivity reactions have occurred in patients receiving TYSABRI, including serious systemic reactions (e.g., anaphylaxis) which occurred at an incidence of <1%
    • Reactions usually occur within 2 hours of the start of the infusion. Symptoms associated with these reactions can include urticaria, dizziness, fever, rash, rigors, pruritus, nausea, flushing, hypotension, dyspnea, and chest pain
    • If a hypersensitivity reaction occurs, discontinue administration of TYSABRI and initiate appropriate therapy. Patients who experience a hypersensitivity reaction should not be re-treated with TYSABRI
    • Hypersensitivity reactions were more frequent in patients with antibodies to TYSABRI compared with patients who did not develop antibodies to TYSABRI in both MS and CD studies
    • Patients who receive TYSABRI for a short exposure (1 to 2 infusions) followed by an extended period without treatment are at higher risk of developing anti-natalizumab antibodies and/or hypersensitivity reactions on re-exposure, compared to patients who received regularly scheduled treatment


    • The immune system effects of TYSABRI may increase the risk for infections
    • In Study MS1, certain types of infections—including pneumonias and urinary tract infections (including serious cases), gastroenteritis, vaginal infections, tooth infections, tonsillitis, and herpes infections—occurred more often in TYSABRI-treated patients than in placebo-treated patients. One opportunistic infection, a cryptosporidial gastroenteritis with a prolonged course, was observed in a patient who received TYSABRI in Study MS1
    • In Studies MS1 and MS2, an increase in infections was seen in patients concurrently receiving short courses of corticosteroids. However, the increase in infections in TYSABRI-treated patients who received steroids was similar to the increase in placebo-treated patients who received steroids
    • In a long-term safety study of patients, opportunistic infections (pulmonary mycobacterium avium intracellulare, aspergilloma, cryptococcal fungemia and meningitis, and Candida pneumonia) have been observed in <1% of TYSABRI-treated patients
    • Concurrent use of antineoplastic, immunosuppressant, or immunomodulating agents may further increase the risk of infections over the risk observed with use of TYSABRI alone
    • In Studies MS1 and MS2, the rate of any type of infection was approximately 1.5 per patient-year in both TYSABRI-treated patients and placebo-treated patients
    • In Study MS1, the incidence of serious infections was approximately 3% in TYSABRI-treated patients and in placebo-treated patients. Most patients did not interrupt treatment with TYSABRI during infections

    Laboratory Test Abnormalities

    • In clinical trials, TYSABRI was observed to induce increases in circulating lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, basophils, and nucleated red blood cells. Observed changes persisted during TYSABRI exposure, but were reversible, returning to baseline levels usually within 16 weeks after the last dose. Elevations of neutrophils were not observed. TYSABRI induces mild decreases in hemoglobin levels (mean decrease of 0.6 g/dL) that are frequently transient


    • Cases of thrombocytopenia, including immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), have been reported with the use of TYSABRI in the postmarketing setting. Symptoms of thrombocytopenia may include easy bruising, abnormal bleeding, and petechiae. Delay in the diagnosis and treatment of thrombocytopenia may lead to serious and life-threatening sequelae. If thrombocytopenia is suspected, TYSABRI should be discontinued
    • Cases of neonatal thrombocytopenia, at times associated with anemia, have been reported in newborns with in utero exposure to TYSABRI. A CBC should be obtained in neonates with in utero exposure to TYSABRI

    Adverse Reactions

    • The most common adverse reactions reported at an incidence of ≥10% with TYSABRI and ≥2% difference with placebo were headache (38% vs 33%), fatigue (27% vs 21%), infusion reactions (24% vs 18%), urinary tract infections (21% vs 17%), arthralgia (19% vs 14%), depression (19% vs 16%), pain in extremity (16% vs 14%), rash (12% vs 9%), gastroenteritis (11% vs 9%), and vaginitis (10% vs 6%)
    • The most frequently reported serious adverse reactions in Study MS1 were infections (3.2% vs 2.6% placebo), including urinary tract infection (0.8% vs 0.3%) and pneumonia (0.6% vs 0%), acute hypersensitivity reactions (1.1% vs 0.3%, including anaphylaxis/anaphylactoid reaction [0.8% vs 0%]), depression (1.0% vs 1.0%, including suicidal ideation or attempt [0.6% vs 0.3%]), and cholelithiasis (1.0% vs 0.3%)
    • Based on animal data, TYSABRI may cause fetal harm. TYSABRI should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus

    Please see full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning.


    1. Lakin L, Davis BE, Binns CC, Currie KM, Rensel MR. Comprehensive approach to management of multiple sclerosis: addressing invisible symptoms-a narrative review. Neurol Ther. 2021;10(1):75-98. doi: 10.1007/s40120-021-00239-2.
    2. TYSABRI Prescribing Information. Cambridge, MA: Biogen.
    3. Polman CH, et al; AFFIRM Investigators. N Engl J Med. 2006;354(9):899-910.
    4. Hersh CM, Kieseier B, de Moor C, et al. Impact of natalizumab on quality of life in a real-world cohort of patients with multiple sclerosis: results from MS PATHS. Mult Scler J Exp Transl Clin. 2021;7(2):20552173211004634. doi: 10.1177/20552173211004634.
    5. Mowry EM, Bermel RA, Williams JR, et al. Harnessing real-world data to inform decision-making: multiple sclerosis partners advancing technology and health solutions (MS PATHS). Front Neurol. 2020;11:632. doi:10.3389/fneur.2020.00632.

     © 2022 Biogen. All rights reserved. TYS-US-3889 5/22

Schedule23 Mar 2023