New Breakthrough In MS Medication!

Woot! I thought this was pretty cool. I found this article on “Medical News Today” and I wanted everyone to see it even if I can only show the first two paragraphs here:


First Oral Treatment For People With Multiple Sclerosis Approved In Canada

Main Category: Multiple Sclerosis
Also Included In: Regulatory Affairs / Drug Approvals
Article Date: 11 Mar 2011 – 2:00 PST

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. announced that its new MS treatment, Gilenya™ (fingolimod), has received Notice of Compliance in Canada. Gilenya™ (fingolimod) is the first disease modifying oral therapy developed for the relapsing-remitting form of multiple sclerosis (MS) which is the most common type of the disease in adults. Unlike current therapies which all require daily or regular injections or infusions, Gilenya offers simple once daily oral dosing (0.5 mg) in a capsule, providing an efficacious and convenient treatment method for a complex and lifelong illness. Gilenya is approved for use in patients who have tried one or more MS therapies, but are unresponsive or intolerant to them.

“The approval of Gilenya is a significant milestone for the Canadian MS community,” says Dr. Daniel Selchen, a neurologist from Toronto, Ontario. “Oral therapies have been greatly anticipated by both patients and physicians who are eager for alternatives to injection and infusion therapies. With its excellent clinical trial efficacy data, along with convenience, Gilenya is welcome news for those seeking a new option to manage their disease.”


Please read the whole article by clicking HERE – it’ll open in a new window for you.

I’ve never had a problem with needles (thank goodness) but I have friends who pass out if they catch a glimpse of a puncture on TV. An oral medication would bypass the whole group of self-injection issues pretty handily, I think. There are (as usual) side effects, and the drug isn’t appropriate for everyone, but wouldn’t it be amazing to just be able to take a pill instead of dealing with injections or infusions?

It’s not a cure for MS, but it apparently does slow progression. It lowers the white blood cells, so does that make it an “immuno-modifier” or an “immuno-supressant?” In either case, you’d have to be careful when around other infectious people (like we’re not already!) and you’d have to decide with your doctors if this is the right treatment for you. I wonder why would it only be approved “for use in patients who have tried one or more MS therapies, but are unresponsive or intolerant to them?” It seems like a simpler treatment than most of the others I’ve heard about.

What do you think? Does this seem like a good idea to you? Is it something you’ll ask your doctor about? Is anyone involved in the Clinical Trial for this medication, or has anyone been put on it through their doctor? I’d love to hear what your experiences are.