After a two-year, randomized, control study of 2,000+ RRMS patients, drugmaker Novartis announced promising findings. Patients taking a once-daily oral dose of fingolimod saw a decrease of almost half in annual relapse rates of RRMS. This reduction in attacks resulted in patients with a better-functioning nervous system than the unmedicated control. In addition, the brain volume in patients on Gilenya remained significantly higher than in those given a placebo.
Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, or RRMS, is a challenging diagnosis because of its cyclical nature. During its active phase, common symptoms of the disease include muscle weakness, tremors, and difficulty walking, wreaking havoc on patients for a period of time. Then, symptoms fall into remission, returning in spurts that progressively break down the patient’s nervous system.
This study confirms other studies done on Fingolimod, name brand Gilenya, easing many worries about the safety and tolerability of the drug. Long-term side effects of Gilenya are still a concern and will be monitored by doctors and patients. However, in 2010, Gilenya was FDA approved in the US for RRMS patients. In March of 2011, it became available in Europe. With over half a million MS victims in Europe alone, this drug does much to relieve the suffering of both patients and their families as current treatments involve painful injections.