Impact of a switch to fingolimod on depressive symptoms in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis: An analysis from the EPOC (Evaluate Patient OutComes) trial

Academic Article


  • Background Depression is common in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), may confound evaluation of therapeutic effectiveness and may be impacted by MS-specific treatments. Objective First, to assess the impact on depressive symptoms of a switch to fingolimod versus remaining on an injectable disease-modifying therapy (iDMT) in a post-hoc analysis of prospectively collected data from the EPOC study. Secondly, to investigate the underlying Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) factor structure in patients with MS, and estimate treatment differences using the resulting subscales. Methods EPOC was a 6-month, open-label study assessing patient-reported outcomes after switch from iDMT to oral fingolimod 0.5 mg versus remaining on iDMT in 1053 patients with relapsing-remitting MS. Results At end of study (EOS), a greater proportion of patients on fingolimod versus iDMT no longer had BDI-II scores indicating depression (p < 0.001). Fewer mildly and moderately symptomatic patients developed severe depressive symptoms, and fewer severely symptomatic patients continued to have scores indicating severe depression at EOS on fingolimod versus iDMT (p = 0.027, p = 0.038, p = 0.030, respectively). Two BDI-II subscales were identified and labelled Somatic and Affective; fingolimod demonstrated more reduction on both subscales at EOS versus iDMTs (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.0001, respectively). Conclusion A switch to fingolimod versus remaining on/switching to another iDMT was associated with an improvement in depressive symptoms in patients with relapsing-remitting MS.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hunter SF; Agius M; Miller DM; Cutter G; Barbato L; McCague K; Meng X; Agashivala N; Chin P; Hollander E
  • Start Page

  • 190
  • End Page

  • 198
  • Volume

  • 365