New treatment for multiple sclerosis improves cognition


A new research study (EXPAND) has been conducted to investigate the effects of siponimod on cognitive processing speed in patients with secondary progressive (SP) multiple sclerosis (MS).

EXPAND was a double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial involving 1,651 patients with SPMS randomized (2:1) to either siponimod 2 mg/d or placebo. Cognitive function was assessed with the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT), and Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised (BVMT-R) administered at baseline, 6-month intervals, and end of treatment. Nowwe have the results.

Between-group differences in mean change from baseline in SDMT scores were significantly better in siponimod- vs placebo-treated patients at month 12 (difference 1.08 [95% confidence interval 0.23-1.94]; p = 0.0132), month 18 (1.23 [0.25-2.21); p = 0.0135), and month 24 (2.30 [1.11-3.50]; p = 0.0002). Siponimod-treated patients were at significantly lower risk for having a 4-point sustained decrease in SDMT score (hazard ratio [HR] 0.79 [0.65-0.96]; p = 0.0157), while their chance for having a 4-point sustained increase in SDMT score was higher (HR 1.28 [1.05-1.55]; p = 0.0131). PASAT and BVMT-R scores did not differ significantly between the 2 treatment groups (all p > 0.28).

In conclusion, Siponimod had a significant benefit on SDMT in patients with SPMS. Siponimod-treated patients were at significantly lower risk for having a ≥4-point decrease in SDMT score and had a significantly higher chance for having a ≥4-point increase in SDMT score, a magnitude of change accepted as clinically meaningful.