Recently, approval was granted for distribution of oral MS drug treatments. It is projected these effective alternatives will make it easier for MS patients to start and stay on an MS drug therapy regimen. The first on the market to be approved is called fingolimod (Gilenya).

Fingolimod has shown great promise in reducing flare-ups of multiple sclerosis symptoms in clinical trials. It has been tested against using the common injectable MS drug treatments and placebos. The effectiveness of fingolimod is accomplished by the drug preventing the movement of T cells out of the lymph nodes. Without getting into a lot of clinical details, this means that they are not released into the body so to attack the myelin sheaths that protect the nerve fibers. As most are aware, the protective covering on the nerve fibers is made up of a fatty compound of lipids and proteins that also helps in the proper transmission of the nerve signals from the brain to our bodies. When myelin becomes deteriorated by attack from a hyper-active immune system, it results in the symptoms exhibited by MS. So far the damage is irreparable.


Some Caution Is Required Regarding This New MS Drug Therapy


While Fingolimod has been shown to reduce the recurrence of MS symptoms by a significant degree, more research will be necessary to determine the effects of actually slowing the progression of the disease. Of course the advantage of using an oral drug for MS drug treatments offers great hope among the community of care-providers and those that are afflicted.

One major concern regarding the use of fingolimod is the need to monitor a patient, especially when they receive their first treatment. There is a high risk of them experiencing bradycardia, or slow heart rate. It is recommended that a patient be monitored for about 6 hours in the doctor’s office or other medical setting. The clinical trials have shown that most patients heart rates will usually return to normal levels within the first month of receiving the daily doses.

Other side effects of note include headache, diarrhea, back pain, fatigue. Because the auto-immune system is inhibited, patients may experience more risk of infections with the flu being a common complaint among those that were treated in the clinical trials. There may be higher than normal liver enzymes produced over time. Originally, it was suggested that monitoring occur within the first four months of beginning treatment and has been changed to six to nine months. Another potential side effect is the development of macular edema, an eye disease.


New Oral Ms Drug Treatments Are Being Tested


There are other promising oral MS drug therapies undergoing clinical trials. One is Ampyra (dalfampridine) which may improve the ability to walk. Nuedexta is a two-drug combination to address possible emotional outbursts from an underlying symptom known as pseudobulbar affect. Laquinimod, cladribine and teriflunomide are others that may make it on the market by the end of 2012.