Interferon, azathioprine and corticosteroids in multiple sclerosis: 6-year follow-up of the ASA cohort

Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery, 08/01/2012

The tested combined therapeutic regimen does not improve long–term outcomes in patients with multiple sclerosis.


  • In the original 2–year ASA study, 181 patients with early relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis were randomised into 3 treatment arms: those treated with interferon beta (n=60), with interferon beta and low–dose azathioprine (n=58), and interferon beta, azathioprine and low–dose prednisone (n=63).
  • Of these, 172 were included in this 4–year non–study extension.
  • Three monthly clinical controls and annual MRI scans were carried out.
  • The primary endpoint was annual relapse activity.
  • The secondary endpoints were disability and quantitative MRI parameters.


  • Nine patients were lost to follow–up and 172 were included in the analyses.
  • None of relapse activity, disability accumulation or MRI parameters differed significantly between the groups over 6 years.
  • Only 5.5% and 0.6% of patients were free from disease activity at year 2 and year 6 of the treatment initiation.

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