Pill Reduce Relapses in MS Patients

Italian researchers who have developed the first pill designed to reduce multiple sclerosis relapses have reported positive and favorable results from its early tests. The said pill was effective in preventing the relapse of the debilitating disease in more than 60 multiple sclerosis patients who have been taking the pills for three years.

According to the report, the study of which was led by researcher Dr. Giancarlo Comi of Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan, the pill would be quite an improvement as a treatment for multiple sclerosis since current treatments available come in the form of injections. The study was conducted on 281 patients with relapsing MS, who took either a placebo or the oral drug FTY720, also known as fingolimod. Six months into the study, patients who took FTY720 had more than 50 percent fewer relapses than those of the patients who took a placebo.

Three years on the said clinical trials, 67 percent of the 173 patients who took FTY720 orally were free of relapses. 89 percent of the patients were free of any disease activity while 75 percent of the patients were found not to have developed new lesions or see their previous lesions getting any larger, as confirmed from their MRI scans. Dr. Comi further added, "The first-line treatments for MS, beta interferon and glatiramer acetate, reduce the relapse rate by only about 30 percent, so this is a significant development for people with MS."

FTY720 works by binding itself into the receptors on immune cells and isolating them in the lymph nodes. This reduces the ability of the immune cells to cause damage to the nerve cells that is associated with symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Side effects reported by patients included headache, cold and flu symptoms.

Source: healthday.com

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