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Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2021 Jul 21;55:103159. doi: 10.1016/j.msard.2021.103159. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Biotin may activate the acetyl-CoA-, 3-methylcrotonyl-CoA-, propionyl-CoA-, and pyruvate carboxylases to increase myelin repair and/or synthesis, and may enhance the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which may be essential to prevent neurodegeneration. The purpose of this review was to determine the effectiveness and safety of high-dose biotin (HDB) in multiple sclerosis via a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.
METHODS: We searched the following electronic databases for relevant articles: MEDLINE, CENTRAL, EMBASE, Scopus, and ClinicalTrials.gov website until April 2021. We considered randomized clinical trials (RCTs) that involved adult patients diagnosed with any phenotype of multiple sclerosis that conforms with the McDonald 2010/2017 criteria or the Lublin 2014 criteria. We included studies employing high-dose biotin or “MD1003” administered orally for at least 300 mg/day and given for at least three months. The methodological quality assessment of the included studies was done using the Cochrane Risk of Bias (RoB) tool. The GRADE approach was used to assess the certainty of evidence [COE].
RESULTS: Out of 366 records identified, three RCTs involving 889 individuals diagnosed with MS (830 participants had progressive MS (PMS); 59 had RRMS) were pooled for analyses. The overall female:male ratio was 1.16:1. All included trials used HDB as an adjunctive treatment. The risks of bias in the three studies were low across the domains. At 12 to 15 months, there is insufficient evidence that the HDB and placebo arms differed in terms of composite improvement of MS-related disability (relative risk (RR) 2.87; 95% CI 0.29-28.40; 2 trials; 796 participants; I2 = 66%) [low COE], improvement in expanded disability status scale (IEDSS) (RR 2.27; 95% CI 0.25-20.98; 2 trials; 796 participants; I2 = 63%) [low COE], and both IEDSS and improvement in 25-foot walk time (ITW25) (IEDSS-ITW25) (RR 0.58; 95% CI 0.17-2.00; 2 trials; 796 participants; I2 = 13%) [moderate COE] among patients with PMS. Pooled data for ITW25 at 12 to 15 months yielded statistical significance (RR 2.06; 95% CI 1.04-4.09; 2 trials; 796 participants; I2 = 0%) [moderate COE] favoring HDB among patients with PMS. At 12 to 15 months, no significant differences were found in terms of mean change in EDSS (MD -0.06; 95% CI -0.14-0.02; 2 studies; 796 participants; 889 participants; I2 = 68%) among patients with PMS. Synthesized data on incidence of any AEs (RR 0.98; 95% CI 0.92-1.04; 3 trials; I2 = 0%) [high COE] and any serious AEs (RR 0.98; 95% CI 0.77-1.24; 3 trials; 889 participants; I2 = 0%) [moderate COE] were not significantly different between HDB and placebo groups. Out of 662 pooled patients in the HDB group, 31 patients (4.7%) were found to have laboratory test interference compared to zero event in the pooled placebo group [high COE].
CONCLUSIONS: A moderate certainty of evidence suggests a potential benefit in favor of HDB administered for 12 to 15 months in terms of ITW25 in patients with PMS. However, an important trade-off of this benefit is the high certainty of evidence suggesting an increased incidence of laboratory test interference when HDB is taken.