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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 451912, 11 pages
Research Article

Multiple Sclerosis in Older Adults: The Clinical Profile and Impact of Interferon Beta Treatment

1Department of Medicine, Division of Neurology and Brain Research Centre, UBC Hospital, University of British Columbia, 2211 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 2B5
2Department of Statistics, University of British Columbia, 3182 Earth Sciences Building, 2207 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4
3College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan, 110 Science Place, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 5C9
4Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden

Received 5 September 2014; Revised 28 February 2015; Accepted 2 March 2015

Academic Editor: Eberval G. Figueiredo

Copyright © 2015 Afsaneh Shirani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. We examined (1) patient characteristics and disease-modifying drug (DMD) exposure in late-onset (LOMS, ≥50 years at symptom onset) versus adult-onset (AOMS, 18–<50 years) MS and (2) the association between interferon-beta (IFNβ) and disability progression in older relapsing-onset MS adults (≥50 years). Methods. This retrospective study (1980–2004, British Columbia, Canada) included 358 LOMS and 5627 AOMS patients. IFNβ-treated relapsing-onset MS patients aged ≥50 (regardless of onset age, 90) were compared with 171 contemporary and 106 historical controls. Times to EDSS 6 from onset and from IFNβ eligibility were examined using survival analyses. Results. LOMS patients (6%) were more likely to be male, with motor onset and a primary-progressive course, and exhibit faster progression and were less likely to take DMDs. Nonetheless, 57% were relapsing-onset, of which 31% were prescribed DMDs, most commonly IFNβ. Among older relapsing-onset MS adults, no significant association between IFNβ exposure and disability progression was found when either the contemporary (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.46; 95% CI: 0.18–1.22) or historical controls (HR: 0.54; 95% CI: 0.20–1.42) were considered. Conclusion. LOMS differed clinically from AOMS. One-third of older relapsing-onset MS patients were prescribed a DMD. IFNβ exposure was not significantly associated with reduced disability in older MS patients.