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Betaseron, known as Betaferon in Europe, is manufactured by Schering and its US associate Berlex. It is a form of beta interferon (interferon beta, IFN-b) used to modify the course of multiple sclerosis.

While not a cure, Betaseron has been shown in clinical trials to reduce the average relapse rate in people with the  relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis form of the disease. That doesn't mean that it reduces the relapse rate for all the trial volunteers, just that averaged over the entire volunteer population, the relapse rate is reduced.

Betaseron/Betaferon has also been shown to reduce EDSS progression and relapse rate in people with secondary progressive MS who are still experiencing relapses.

Betaseron is a form of beta interferon known as interferon beta-1b. It is administered via subcutaneous self-injection every other day.

Here is a table of clinical trials of Betaseron.
Efficacy of Betaseron/Betaferon in Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis
Trial Name Brief Description Results Reference
IFNB Multiple Sclerosis Study Group - IFNb-1b (Betaseron / Betaferon) trial of relapsing remitting MS Multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with 372 people. One-third received placebo, one-third 1.6 MIU of IFNb-1b and one-third 8 MIU of IFNb-1b - all self-administered by subcutaneous injections every other day. Study over 2 years extended for 5 years Annual relapse rate for patients receiving placebo was 1.27; for 1.6 MIU IFNb-1b, 1.17; and for 8 MIU IFNb-1b, 0.84 after 2 years. Based on 52 people at one study centre, new MRI lesion formation was reduced by 80% Neurology 1993 43 : 655-661

Neurology 1993 43 : 662-667

Neurology 1995 45 : 1277-1285

Comparative trials involving Betaseron/Betaferon
Trial Name Brief Description Results Reference
Comparative trial between interferon beta-1b (Betaseron regime) and interferon beta-1a (Avonex regime) (INCOMIN). 2-year, prospective, randomised, multicentre study. 188 patients with RRMS were assigned to interferon beta-1b (n=96) or interferon beta-1a (n=92). Interferon beta-1a 30 microg was administered once a week, interferon beta-1b 250 microg was administered on alternate days. Primary outcome measures were the proportion of patients free from relapses and free from new MRI T2 lesions.  51% on interferon beta-1b remained relapse-free compared with 36% on interferon beta-1a. 55% on interferon beta-1b had no new T2 lesions compared 26% on interferon beta-1a. Lancet 2002 Apr 27;359(9316):1453-60
Open-label treatment trial to compare the effect of IFNb-1a (Avonex), IFNb-1b (Betaseron), and glatiramer acetate (Copaxone) on the relapse rate in RRMS 12 month (18 months of follow-up) prospective, non-randomized, open-label trial with 156 volunteers (33 no treatment, 40 Avonex, 41 Betaseron and 42 Copaxone Average relapses per year:
Copaxone - 0.49;
Betaseron 0.55;
Avonex - 0.81;
Untreated - 1.02.
The Avonex reduction was not statistically significant
Eur J Neurol 2001 Mar ; 8(2): 141-8

Mult Scler 2001 Dec; 7(6) : 349-53

Comparison of Copaxone and Betaferon (Betaseron) in people with MS : an open-label 2-year follow-up 58 people with RRMS divided into: 
(a) Copaxone 20 mg subcutaneously daily - 20 people
(b) Copaxone 20 mg alternate-days - 18 people
(c) Betaseron 8 MIU subcutaneously alternate days - 20 patients
All groups showed a reducton in relapse rate over 2 years:
(a) Copaxone daily 1.1
(b) Copaxone alternate day, 0.9
(c) Betaseron 1.2.

All 3 groups deteriorated on EDSS:
(a)Copaxone daily by 0.5 points
(b) Copaxone alternate by 0.4 points
(c) Betaseron by 0.2 points

J Neurol Sci 2002 May 15; 197(1-2) : 51-5
Efficacy of Betaseron in Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
Trial Name Brief Description Results Reference
European Study Group on interferon beta-1b (IFNb-1b, Betaferon) in secondary progressive MS Placebo-controlled, multicentre, randomised, double-blinded trial involving 718 people (358 on placebo, 360 on IFNb-1b at 250 µg subcutaneously every other day for up to three years) Betaferon reduced the confirmed 1-point EDSS progression rate, reduced the relapse rate by 31% and new MRI lesions by 78%. Lancet. 1998 Nov 7;352(9139):1491-7

Brain. 2000 Nov; 123 ( Pt 11) : 2256-63

Neurology. 2001 Dec 11; 57(11) : 1969-75

Neutralising antibodies:
Neutralizing antibodies during treatment of multiple sclerosis with interferon beta-1b: experience during the first three years

More information about Betaseron/Betaferon including comparative information between the various disease modifying treatments for multiple sclerosis can be found by following this link:
ABC treatments

Betaseron links:
Betaseron - NMSS
NMSS - Room temperature Betaseron approved
Betaseron - Manufacturer's web site - Betaseron etc. (Interferon beta-1b)

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