Research Article| Volume 3, ISSUE 5, P620-628, September 2014

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First-dose effects of fingolimod after switching from injectable therapies in the randomized, open-label, multicenter, Evaluate Patient OutComes (EPOC) study in relapsing multiple sclerosis


      • In this phase 4 study over 900 patients received fingolimod for the treatment of MS.
      • First-dose effects were examined in a population representative of real-world patients.
      • A mild decrease in heart rate was the most common manifestation of the first-dose effect.
      • Few patients (1.5%) required additional monitoring after the 6-hour observation period.



      In pivotal phase 3 studies, fingolimod treatment initiation was associated with a transient reduction in heart rate (HR). Atrioventricular (AV) conduction delays, which were typically asymptomatic, were detected in a small minority of patients.


      We report the first-dose effects of fingolimod in patients who switched from injectable therapies during the Evaluate Patient OutComes (EPOC) study ( Identifier: NCT01216072).


      This was a phase 4, 6-month, randomized, active-comparator, open-label, multicenter study. It included over 900 fingolimod-treated patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis, with subgroups of individuals who were receiving common concomitant HR-lowering medications or had pre-existing cardiac conditions (PCCs). Vital signs were recorded hourly for 6 h post-dose. A 12-lead electrocardiogram was obtained at baseline and at 6 h post-dose.


      A transient decrease in mean HR and blood pressure occurred within 6 h of the first fingolimod dose. The incidence of symptomatic bradycardia was low (1%); eight patients reported dizziness and there was one case each of fatigue, palpitations, dyspnea, cardiac discomfort, and gait disturbance. These symptomatic events were typically mild or moderate in severity and all resolved spontaneously, without intervention or fingolimod discontinuation.


      First-dose effects in patients with PCCs and in those receiving concomitant HR-lowering medications were consistent with effects observed in the overall study population and with results from previous clinical trials. The EPOC study provides additional data demonstrating the transient and generally benign nature of fingolimod first-dose effects on HR and AV conduction in a large population that is more representative of patients encountered in routine clinical practice than in the pivotal trials.


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