Clinical efficacy, safety, and tolerability of fingolimod for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.
Fingolimod is a selective immunosuppressive agent approved worldwide for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic and potentially disabling neurological condition. Randomized double-blind clinical trials have shown that fingolimod significantly reduces relapse rate and ameliorates a number of brain MRI measures, including cerebral atrophy, compared to both placebo and intramuscular interferon-β1a. The effect on disability progression remains controversial, since one Phase III trial showed a significant benefit of treatment while two others did not. Although fingolimod has a very convenient daily oral dosing, the possibility of serious cardiac, ocular, infectious, and other rare adverse events justified the decision of the European Medicines Agency to approve the drug as a second-line treatment for MS patients not responsive to first-line therapy, or those with rapidly evolving course. In the United States, fingolimod is instead authorized as a first-line treatment. The aim of this review is to describe and discuss the characteristics of fingolimod concerning its efficacy, safety, and tolerability in the clinical context of multiple sclerosis management.