Drug Combo with Antibiotics May Slow MS Progression

A new study shows that adding antibiotics to medication used to treat multiple sclerosis may have an effect of slowing down the progression of the disease. According to a study that was on the online issue of the Archives of Neurology, a team of researchers from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport conducted a single center trial composed of 15 patients with relapsing-remitting MS.

In the said trial, the team, headed by Dr Alireza Minagar, gave a 100 mg dose of the antibiotic doxycycline daily for four months in addition to the patients’ Interferon therapy. At each month of the trial each patient took a neurological exam as well as an MRI scan and blood tests to check the results. After four months, MRI scans from the trial subjects showed fewer lesions on the brain with 60 percent of them showing a 25 reduction in the number of lesions than were present at the start of the said study. In addition, the patients also showed lower scores on their disability tests.

Multiple sclerosis or MS is a debilitating disease that causes inflammation and degeneration of brain tissue. It is usually triggered by yet unidentified antigens as well as other agents. It also affects people that are genetically prone to developing the disease. The most common type of MS is known as relapsing-remitting MS where people experience sudden muscle weakness and spasms without any previous symptoms.

There is currently no known cure for MS. What treatment there is available is geared towards treating the symptoms caused by MS. Medication that is available to treat it include the drug Interferon which is a drug that boosts the immune system and helps the body fight viruses. This is usually taken as a therapy medication for those with relapsing-remitting MS. Interferon is not considered as a cure and does not prevent relapses of the disease or stop the development of new brain lesions.

The authors of the study further noted that the antibiotic doxycycline as well as others that belong to the tetracycline family may be helpful in combating MS as well as other types of inflammatory diseases by slowing down the enzymes that try to attack certain cells found in the nervous system.

They further added that there is a growing interest in developing a combination therapy in patients with MS to stabilize the clinical course, reduce the rate of relapses as well as slow down the progressive course of the disease. The authors also cautioned that further studies might be needed to ensure that the said treatment is safe for a larger number of patients with MS.

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/91379.php

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