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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Immunomodulators and immunosuppressants for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: a network meta-analysis

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, September 2015
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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 (92nd percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (69th percentile)

Mentioned by

2 blogs
1 policy source
10 tweeters
3 Facebook pages
2 Wikipedia pages


174 Dimensions

Readers on

338 Mendeley
Immunomodulators and immunosuppressants for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: a network meta-analysis
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, September 2015
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd011381.pub2
Pubmed ID

Irene Tramacere, Cinzia Del Giovane, Georgia Salanti, Roberto D'Amico, Graziella Filippini


Different therapeutic strategies are available for the treatment of people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), including immunomodulators, immunosuppressants and biologics. Although there is consensus that these therapies reduce the frequency of relapses, their relative benefit in delaying new relapses or disability worsening remains unclear due to the limited number of direct comparison trials. To compare the benefit and acceptability of interferon beta-1b, interferon beta-1a (Avonex, Rebif), glatiramer acetate, natalizumab, mitoxantrone, fingolimod, teriflunomide, dimethyl fumarate, alemtuzumab, pegylated interferon beta-1a, daclizumab, laquinimod, azathioprine and immunoglobulins for the treatment of people with RRMS and to provide a ranking of these treatments according to their benefit and acceptability, defined as the proportion of participants who withdrew due to any adverse event. We searched the Cochrane Multiple Sclerosis and Rare Diseases of the CNS Group Trials Register, which contains trials from CENTRAL (2014, Issue 9), MEDLINE (1966 to 2014), EMBASE (1974 to 2014), CINAHL (1981 to 2014), LILACS (1982 to 2014), clinicaltrials.gov and the WHO trials registry, and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports. We ran the most recent search in September 2014. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that studied one or more of the 15 treatments as monotherapy, compared to placebo or to another active agent, for use in adults with RRMS. Two authors independently identified studies from the search results and performed data extraction. We performed data synthesis by pairwise meta-analysis and network meta-analysis. We assessed the quality of the body of evidence for outcomes within the network meta-analysis according to GRADE, as very low, low, moderate or high. We included 39 studies in this review, in which 25,113 participants were randomised. The majority of the included trials were short-term studies, with a median duration of 24 months. Twenty-four (60%) were placebo-controlled and 15 (40%) were head-to-head studies.Network meta-analysis showed that, in terms of a protective effect against the recurrence of relapses in RRMS during the first 24 months of treatment, alemtuzumab, mitoxantrone, natalizumab, and fingolimod outperformed other drugs. The most effective drug was alemtuzumab (risk ratio (RR) versus placebo 0.46, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.38 to 0.55; surface under the cumulative ranking curve (SUCRA) 96%; moderate quality evidence), followed by mitoxantrone (RR 0.47, 95% CI 0.27 to 0.81; SUCRA 92%; very low quality evidence), natalizumab (RR 0.56, 95% CI 0.47 to 0.66; SUCRA 88%; high quality evidence), and fingolimod (RR 0.72, 95% CI 0.64 to 0.81; SUCRA 71%; moderate quality evidence).Disability worsening was based on a surrogate marker, defined as irreversible worsening confirmed at three-month follow-up, measured during the first 24 months in the majority of included studies. Both direct and indirect comparisons revealed that the most effective treatments were mitoxantrone (RR versus placebo 0.20, 95% CI 0.05 to 0.84; SUCRA 96%; low quality evidence), alemtuzumab (RR 0.35, 95% CI 0.26 to 0.48; SUCRA 94%; low quality evidence), and natalizumab (RR 0.64, 95% CI 0.49 to 0.85; SUCRA 74%; moderate quality evidence).Almost all of the agents included in this review were associated with a higher proportion of participants who withdrew due to any adverse event compared to placebo. Based on the network meta-analysis methodology, the corresponding RR estimates versus placebo over the first 24 months of follow-up were: mitoxantrone 9.92 (95% CI 0.54 to 168.84), fingolimod 1.69 (95% CI 1.32 to 2.17), natalizumab 1.53 (95% CI 0.93 to 2.53), and alemtuzumab 0.72 (95% CI 0.32 to 1.61).Information on serious adverse events (SAEs) was scanty, characterised by heterogeneous results and based on a very low number of events observed during the short-term duration of the trials included in this review. Conservative interpretation of these results is warranted, since most of the included treatments have been evaluated in few trials. The GRADE approach recommends providing implications for practice based on moderate to high quality evidence. Our review shows that alemtuzumab, natalizumab, and fingolimod are the best choices for preventing clinical relapses in people with RRMS, but this evidence is limited to the first 24 months of follow-up. For the prevention of disability worsening in the short term (24 months), only natalizumab shows a beneficial effect on the basis of moderate quality evidence (all of the other estimates were based on low to very low quality evidence). Currently, therefore, insufficient evidence is available to evaluate treatments for the prevention of irreversible disability worsening.There are two additional major concerns that have to be considered. First, the benefit of all of these treatments beyond two years is uncertain and this is a relevant issue for a disease with a duration of 30 to 40 years. Second, short-term trials provide scanty and poorly reported safety data and do not provide useful evidence in order to obtain a reliable risk profile of treatments. In order to provide long-term information on the safety of the treatments included in this review, it will be necessary also to evaluate non-randomised studies and post-marketing reports released from the regulatory agencies. Finally, more than 70% of the studies included in this review were sponsored by pharmaceutical companies and this may have influenced the results.There are three needs that the research agenda should address. First, randomised trials of direct comparisons between active agents would be useful, avoiding further placebo-controlled studies. Second, follow-up of the original trial cohorts should be mandatory. Third, more studies are needed to assess the medium and long-term benefit and safety of immunotherapies and the comparative safety of different agents.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 10 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 338 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Brazil 2 <1%
United States 1 <1%
Spain 1 <1%
Unknown 334 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 51 15%
Researcher 47 14%
Student > Ph. D. Student 35 10%
Student > Bachelor 35 10%
Student > Doctoral Student 22 7%
Other 59 17%
Unknown 89 26%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 118 35%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 18 5%
Nursing and Health Professions 16 5%
Neuroscience 16 5%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 12 4%
Other 56 17%
Unknown 102 30%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 25. 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 13 April 2021.
All research outputs
of 22,828,180 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
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Outputs of similar age
of 272,856 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 280 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 22,828,180 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 94th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,319 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 30.4. This one has done well, scoring higher than 75% 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 272,856 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 92% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 280 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 69% of its contemporaries.