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Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Blog Blog

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New medication for MS, Tecfidera (BG-12), Approved by FDA

On March 27, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the newest treatment in the increasing number of disease modifying therapies (DMTs) available to treat multiple sclerosis. Tecfidera (BG-12) is an oral capsule to treat adults with relapsing forms of MS. Research participants at the MS Center at Swedish participated in clinical trials for Tecfidera.

 

The trials reported that people taking Tecfidera had fewer relapses and less frequent worsening of disability compared to people taking a placebo. There were also fewer and less-severe side effects with Tecfidera than other treatments.

 

The studies found that ...

Stride with Swedish April 14 for Multiple Sclerosis

Every hour, someone is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). And every day, people from around the Pacific Northwest and United States visit the MS Center at Swedish to learn how to live well with the disease.

Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the nervous system that affects the brain, eyes and spinal cord that takes a unique course in every patient. We’re with people on their journey, whether they are newly diagnosed or have been living with MS for decades. Patients and families share their lives with our treatment team and, in turn, we put our passion into helping them achieve their highest wellbeing.

Participating in Walk MS one way we show our commitment to caring for the MS community.

Swedish Presents Research at 2013 AAN Annual Meeting

Neurologists and neuroscience professionals this week from around the world gathered at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego. The Multiple Sclerosis Center at Swedish Neuroscience Institute was pleased to co-author a few research trials presented at the meeting:

 

Teriflunomide and pregnancy

Dr. Lily Jung-Henson speaking at the AAN 65th Annual MeetingDr. Lily Jung-Henson, neurologist and Chief of Staff at Swedish Issaquah, spoke on behalf of a team of researchers about teriflunomide and a report on the safety of women who became pregnant on the medication. Teriflunomide is a once-daily, oral disease-modifying therapy (DMT) recently approved in the United States to treat relapsing multiple sclerosis. Clinical trials for teriflunomide took place among the many research studies for new treatments Swedish Neuroscience Institute offers patients with multiple sclerosis. (Read the full abstract here.)

Subset of a trial looking at endurance effects of Dalfampridine (AMPYRA®)

Dr. Angeli Mayadev, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at the MS Center, participated in this study of a medication to improve walking speed in people with MS. Dalfampridine -ER 10 mg twice daily significantly improved 6-minute walking distance compared to placebo. Dalfampridine 5 mg twice daily did not improve distance compared to placebo. Researchers also found that ....

MS Research Update: Pulse therapy for breakthrough multiple sclerosis

A small pilot study from the University of Southern California suggests a pulse adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) therapy could be effective in patients with breakthrough multiple sclerosis attacks while on beta-interferon. “Breakthrough” attacks that occur after starting a disease modifying therapy (DMT).

 

The study compared the safety and benefits of monthly pulse ACTH to monthly methylprednisone (MP) pulse in patients on beta-interferon. Over 15 months, researchers found that those treated with ACTH had fewer relapses and fewer psychiatric side effects. ACTH gel is currently used to treat MS relapses, but researchers note it may be able to alter the body’s immune responses beyond producing steroids.

 

As I discussed with the Medscape reporter, Megan Brooks, last week, the results of this study are ....

Emerging therapies in multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is unique among neurological diseases in that there are currently eight treatments for this one condition that have received approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Five of these drugs require subcutaneous or intramuscular injection, two are administered intravenously, and fingolimod, the newest agent on the block, is given orally. None are considered curative, but these disease-modifying therapies (DMT) have led to a reduction in relapse rates and the progression of disability.

Despite this progress, each of the drugs comes with side effects, including flu-like symptoms with the interferons, lipoatrophy with glatiramer, progressive multifocal leukodystrophy (PML) with natalizumab, and congestive heart failure or leukemia with mitoxantrone. As the first oral agent for MS, fingolimod created great expectations prior to FDA approval. Its popularity, however, has been surprisingly limited, presumably due to the potential for unknown long-term risks. The occur rence of PML with natalizumab demonstrated to MS neurologists and patients the potential risks associated with new drugs.

Additional DMTs in the pipeline may increase MS-management effectiveness in coming years, although safety will continue to be a major consideration in the use of these drugs. For instance, oral cladribine was on the verge of FDA approval in early March when the agency referred the drug back for more safety studies. This drug is already used in intravenous form for the management of hairy cell leukemia, but it is being studied for use with remitting relapsing MS because of its apoptotic effects on lymphocytes. If cladribine is ultimately approved for use, the risk of infection and neoplasms may limit its use.

Other oral agents being studied include:

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