New treatments for MS

May is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. Here are two new treatments that may help those with MS cope better

New treatments for MS

Source: Best Health Magazine, May 2010

Multiple sclerosis is an often-debilitating disease that attacks the myelin, the protective covering around the nerves of the central nervous system (which consists of the spinal cord and the brain), causing cognitive, muscle and mobility problems. The disease affects two to three times as many women as men; it’s estimated that 37,000 to 56,000 Canadian women suffer from MS.

Fingolimod

Studies published by The New England Journal of Medicine show that oral meds could replace the injections MS patients now endure. Fingolimod, an oral immunosuppressant, was given daily to MS patients in two separate studies involving more than 2,500 participants. Researchers found that it significantly reduced the progression and relapse rates during a one-year period. The theory is that it may repair the myelin, but the long-term effects have yet to be studied.

Cladribine

Other research, led by Queen Mary’University of London (England), enrolled more than 1,300 MS patients to evaluate the efficacy of cladribine, an oral med currently used for hairy cell leukemia. It would only need to be taken for one to two months per year. Side effects were minimal, says Dr. Mark Freedman, director of the Multiple Sclerosis Research Unit at The Ottawa Hospital, which participated in the trial. The drug targets the white blood cells thought to have a role in MS, and stops them from damaging the central nervous system.

‘Patients love the fact that they don’t have to do injections. However, cladribine is unlikely to be cheap,’ says Freedman. Cladribine and fingolimod are awaiting approval from Health Canada for treating MS and are being studied for their adverse effects. Freedman would not speculate when these drugs could be available for Canadians.

This article was originally titled "New treatments for those with MS" in the May 2010 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!’and make sure to check out what’s new in the latest issue of Best Health.

Related content:

Secrets to Staying Healthy & Happy

X-Tenso

I Tried It: L’ Oreal’s X-Tenso Hair Smoothing Treatment

  One of the great perks about working with BH’s beauty editor Rhonda Rovan, is that I get some excellent advice. This was the case months ago when I told her how much I wanted to get the Brazilian blow out to help tame my thick, wavy hair, I’d even made an appointment at my […]

zucchini_chip_cupcakes_0

Zucchini Chip Cupcakes

These moist cupcakes don’t even need frosting, and they’re a great way to use up zucchini. Cinnamon, chocolate chips, and pecans make these so delicious, no one will know they’re made with vegetables too!

photocredit-closer-magazine

News: Anorexic mother weighs less than her 7-year-old daughter

  Rebecca Jones has suffered from anorexia for half her life and weighs less than her 7-year-old daughter Maisy. The 5-1 mom weighs only 70 pounds and survives on soup, toast and energy drinks. Jones might be 26 years old, but that doesn’t stop her from sharing clothes with her daughter. She told the Daily […]