Ipratropium, salmeterol show therapeutic potential in multiple sclerosis
Use of both ipratropium and salmeterol is associated with reduced likelihood of being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study, suggesting that the drugs may help prevent or stop the development of the disease in its early stages.
Researchers conducted a matched case–control study that examined the effect of exposure to ipratropium and salmeterol over the past 2 years between patients with MS (n=214) and matched general outpatients (control; n=2,164).
The mean age of the entire population was 41 years. Compared with controls, MS patients are more likely to be current smokers (34.6 percent vs 20.2 percent) and have a family history of MS (9.2 percent vs 0.5 percent) but had a lower prevalence of chronic pulmonary disease (0.9 percent vs 5.4 percent).
Prescriptions of ipratropium and salmeterol were consistently fewer in the MS vs control group in the past 1, 2 and 3 years before the index date. In multivariable Poisson regression model, prescriptions of either ipratropium or salmeterol in the past 2 years were higher by 3.2 (95 percent CI, 1.4–7.1; p=0.006) in the control group than in the MS group.
In the generalized structural equation model, use of ipratropium and salmeterol was strongly associated with reduced MS incidence (p=0.036), whereas smokers and individuals with family history of MS were more likely to be diagnosed with the disease (p<0.001).
The present data provide a platform for personalized medicine for high-risk populations of MS by tailoring treatments based on lifestyle and environmental factors, the researchers said. The next step in the research is to develop a randomized clinical trial evaluating ipratropium and salmeterol as a treatment option for patients with MS.