Oral Drugs for Multiple Sclerosis

Oral Drugs

Image via disaboom. Found in Google search.

A half million American’s may soon be able to put aside the needles and injections necessary for maintenance of symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), and possibly even for the controlling of the disease’s progression all together.

The Food and Drug administration has approved its first ever oral MS drug, called dalfampridine. In clinical and drug trial tests, Dalfampridine has shown to have considerable effect on MS symptons. As many as 70 percent of people with MS have been shown in studies to have difficulties with mobility. Dalfampridine enchances nerve function, which can have great effect on the gait of MS sufferers.

Dalfampridine is considered a systomatic therapy, not a disease-modifying drug. It does not effect the immune system, as do the other federally approved MS drugs, and may not alter the course of the disease. These immune system altering drugs have only been able to be administered through injections, as oral forms have caused gastrointestinal problems. Scientists have been working diligently to find an oral medicine that did not come with these problems, and until recently have been unsuccessful.

Hot on the heals of the FDA’s approval of dalfampridine for treatment of MS symptoms are five potential oral drugs currently being considered by the FDA for treatment of MS at the altering immune system level. Two of the more promising drugs are fingolimod and cladribine.

Even with approval from the FDA, there are still some concerns about dalfampridine’s adverse effects — particularly seizures. The FDA has recommended that the drug not be used in patients with a history of seizures or with moderate to severe kidney disease.

For more information on the drugs discussed here, their research findings, and the potential risks and gains of the drugs, read “Oral Drugs for MS” by Jamie Talan in Neurology Now May/June 2010 (Vol. 6 Iss. 3), also available here. A PDF version of the article may also be printed from this page.

Also, an article written by Allen Bowling, MD, PhD. on these drugs and others in the race for an oral treatment for MS can be read here at disaboom.

Talan, Jamie. “Oral Drugs for MS.” Neurology Now 6.3 (2010): 35-36. Print.

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