The new study has suggests that the experimental drug fingolimod might be effective in helping patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis. It was also reported in the study that if in the larger and detailed studies could show satisfactorily that the patients respond well to the drug, it could offer patients with MS the first effective treatment in the form of a pill.
It was mentioned that fingolimod is one among the several oral MS drugs that are under development. Reportedly around 2 million people suffer from MS, and is one of the leading cause of disease-related neurologic disability among young adults. Only around 30% of the patients claim to get any benefit from the drugs that are currently available. Many patients do not continue the medication due top the many adverse reactions and harsh side effects that they face.
Patricia O'Looney, the director of biomedical research of the National MS Society, states, "There has been a crying need for better therapies for MS. These are exciting preliminary findings for an experimental oral therapy for MS, but larger and longer term studies are needed to determine if this drug lives up to its early promise."
The pharmaceutical company of Novartis, which manufactures the drug, had also undertaken the cost of the study involving 255 patients. It was explained that the drug fingolimod works by trapping T cells in the lymph nodes thereby keeping them away from the central nervous system where they do their damage.
It was explained that in the study the patients had reportedly received one of the two doses of the drug for up to a year, receiving either a 125 milligrams of an oral dose of the drug or 5 milligrams of the drug or a placebo. Six months later the patients on placebo were switched on to fingolimod, and it was found that among the patients who had now been switched to the drug the rate of relapse had reduced by at least 70%. It was also reported in the study the patients who had received the drug during the total period of 12 months, the number of brain lesions was significantly less.