New MS drug comes in capsule form

September 22, 2010

The option is something many multiple sclerosis patients have been waiting for for years.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first pill for treating relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, the most common form of the disease.

Unlike current MS drugs which are given by injections or infusion, the new drug called Gilenya comes in a capsule and is taken once a day.

The drug has been shown to be effective at reducing, replacing and delaying the progression of the disease.

The medication is also the first of a new class of drugs that reduce the severity of MS by manipulating the body's immune system.

John Wilson, a neurologist with Westlake and west suburban hospitals, expects Gilenya will spark instant demand.

"I don't think that there is anyone in particular who I would say can't be on it right now - the data appears to be quite good - it does not appear to be inferior in terms of its usefulness to the disease," said Wilson. "I think that this is an option to most everyone with MS."

He says this is no reason to switch if patients are doing well with their injections.

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