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January 26th, 2010
New Oral Multiple Sclerosis Drugs Increase Variety of Treatment Options

Cladribine and fingolimod, two new drugs for treating multiple sclerosis have been shown to reduce the rates of relapse in MS patients. While these drugs are still pending approval, research has shown that they are effective in keeping 80% or more patients relapse-free during the period of study. Both drugs are taken orally, therefore, if they are approved, could mean an end to painful injections for many MS patients.

The results of three studies have been published online in the New England Journal of Medicine concerning cladribine and fingolimod as treatment for a relapsing-remitting form of Multiple Sclerosis. Supporters of these new oral drugs suggest that they could provide a “new horizon” for MS patients and a larger variety of treatment options.

Researchers first studied fingolimod by comparing it with an already established treatment for MS and looking at the relapse rate after 12 months in 1,153 patients. They found that the relapse rate was lower in the groups taking fingolimod. While 69% of patients treated with the established MS drug were relapse free after a year, nearly 80% of those treated with fingolimod were relapse- free.

In another study, Gavin Giovannoni, MB, PhD, of Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry at Queen Mary University of London and his colleagues studied more than 1,300 MS patients treated with Cladribine. Throughout the almost two-year study, 79-80% of patients taking cladribine were relapse-free, compared to just 61% of relapse-free patients taking a placebo.

‘”This is really big news,” says John Richert, MD, executive vice president for research and clinical programs at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, New York. “Having oral therapies available increases the likelihood that people will be willing to start the drug early in the course of their disease and continue on the drugs with good compliance long term.”

Around 400,000 patients have MS in America and it is a chronic, often disabling disease. Around 85% of MS patients are diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, in which flare-ups are followed by remissions.

For more information about multiple sclerosis treatment options, visit www.orderonlinedrugs.com

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