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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Azathioprine for multiple sclerosis

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, October 2007
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (88th percentile)
  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (59th percentile)

Mentioned by

blogs
1 blog
twitter
2 tweeters
wikipedia
1 Wikipedia page

Citations

dimensions_citation
92 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
138 Mendeley
Title
Azathioprine for multiple sclerosis
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, October 2007
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd003982.pub2
Pubmed ID
Authors

Ilaria Casetta, Gerardo Iuliano, Graziella Filippini

Abstract

Azathioprine is the most widely used immunosuppressive treatment in multiple sclerosis (MS). It is an alternative to interferon beta for treating MS also because it is less expensive. Concerns about its safety, mainly a possible increased risk of malignancy, has limited its use. This systematic review aimed to determine the trade off between the benefits and risks of azathioprine in multiple sclerosis. To compare azathioprine versus placebo. To determine the effect of azathioprine on major clinical outcomes, i.e., disability progression and relapses in patients with multiple sclerosis. The Multiple Sclerosis Group's Trials Register, The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL- Issue 4, 2006), Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR - Issue 4, 2006), Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness (DARE - searched 28.12.06) MEDLINE (PubMed) (1966 to December 2006), EMBASE (1980 to December 2006). Journals and reference lists were hand searched for relevant articles both to benefit and adverse effects. Regulatory agencies were additional sources of information for adverse effects. All parallel group randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing azathioprine treatment of a least one year duration with placebo for patients with multiple sclerosis. Cohorts, case controls, case series and case reports were also used to assess adverse effects. Potentially relevant references were evaluated and all data extracted by two independent authors. The five trials that met our criteria included 698 randomised patients: data from 499 (71.5%) were available for analysis of relapse frequency in patients at one year's, from 488 (70%) at two years' and from 415 (59.5%) at three years' follow-up. Azathioprine reduced the number of patients who had relapses during the first year of treatment (relative risk reduction [RRR] =20%; 95% CI = 5% to 33%), at two years' (RRR =23%; 95% CI = 12% to 33%) and three years' (RRR =18%; 95% CI = 7% to 27%) follow-up. These results were consistent in sensitivity analysis. There was no heterogeneity among the studies. Data from only three small trials with a total of 87 patients were available to calculate the number of patients who progressed during the first two to three years. There was a statistically significant benefit (RRR = 42%; 95% CI = 7% to 64%) of azathioprine therapy at three years' follow-up; this result was robust after sensitivity analyses and there was no heterogeneity among the trials. Gastrointestinal disturbances, bone marrow suppression and hepatic toxicity were greater in the azathioprine group rather than in the placebo group; they were anticipated, and, by monitoring and dosage adjustment, were easily managed. Withdrawals due to adverse effects were few, occurring mostly during the first year of azathioprine treatment and mainly due to gastrointestinal intolerance (5%). Data from the trials and from cohort and case controls studies available in the literature did not show an increase in risk of malignancy from azathioprine. A possible long-term risk of cancer from azathioprine may be related to a treatment duration above ten years and cumulative doses above 600 g. Azathioprine is an appropriate maintenance treatment for patients with multiple sclerosis who frequently relapse and require steroids. Cumulative doses of 600 g should not be exceeded in relation to a possible increased risk of malignancy. Considering the trade off between the benefits and harms, azathioprine is a fair alternative to interferon beta for treating multiple sclerosis. A logical next step for future trials would seem the direct comparison of azathioprine and interferon beta. In fact the direct comparison between these two widely used treatments in multiple sclerosis has not been made.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 2 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 138 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Hungary 1 <1%
Chile 1 <1%
Italy 1 <1%
Sri Lanka 1 <1%
Spain 1 <1%
Unknown 133 96%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 21 15%
Student > Master 20 14%
Student > Ph. D. Student 19 14%
Researcher 12 9%
Student > Postgraduate 10 7%
Other 35 25%
Unknown 21 15%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 56 41%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 13 9%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 9 7%
Nursing and Health Professions 7 5%
Neuroscience 7 5%
Other 21 15%
Unknown 25 18%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 13. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 29 January 2020.
All research outputs
#1,687,435
of 16,713,463 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
#4,225
of 11,579 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#24,146
of 215,525 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
#100
of 244 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 16,713,463 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done well and is in the 89th percentile: it's in the top 25% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,579 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 24.4. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 63% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 215,525 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 88% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 244 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 59% of its contemporaries.