As someone suffering from multiple sclerosis or MS, your symptoms may range from difficulty walking to impaired cognitive function to numbness and tingling throughout your body. These are just some of the symptoms that can manifest from a disease that damages the coating around nerves called myelin. As the myelin continues to deteriorate, your symptoms worsen.
There’s still no cure for MS, but years of dedicated research have led to new management plans for symptoms of multiple sclerosis. If you’re feeling low on options for battling your recurring symptoms, take a look at some of the newest medications and treatments and the research showing their efficacy.
- What is it? This oral drug approved for MS treatment in 2012 slows down the disease’s progression, categorizing it as a disease-modifying medication. This was only the second ever approved oral drug designed to work this way.
- Does it work? The New England Journal of Medicine published a randomized trial of teriflunomide in late 2011. Nearly 1,100 MS patients were randomly assigned to take a placebo, 7 mg of teriflunomide or 14 mg of teriflunomide once daily for more than two years. Researchers found that those who took the medicine experienced fewer relapses and slower disease progression than those who took the placebo. The higher dose was found to be most effective.
Dimethyl Fumarate (Tecfidera)
- What is it? An even newer disease-modifying medication, dimethyl fumarate – formerly called BG-12 – was approved for use in 2013. The oral drug stops the immune system from attacking myelin and may even have a protective effect on the body, similar to antioxidants. It’s designed to help people with relapsing-remitting MS.
- Does it work? The New England Journal of Medicine published phase 3 of a double-blind study on oral dimethyl fumarate at the end of 2012. Patients assigned to take dimethyl fumarate twice daily were 27 percent less likely to relapse than the group who took placebos. The rate of disability progression was also slower in the group taking dimethyl fumarate.
- What is it? This potassium channel blocker helps electrical signals move better along nerves with damaged myelin in the brain and spinal cord. Taking this medication helps you get around more easily if you suffer from mobility issues caused by MS.
- Does it work? The Lancet published research from a phase 3 clinical study showing that dalfampridine improves motor function in people with MS. Patients with multiple sclerosis were assigned to 14 weeks of treatment taking either 10 mg of dalfampridine or a placebo. The dalfampridine group showed increased walking speed and leg muscle strength compared to the control group.
- What is it? This disease-modifying medication is a lab-produced protein that destroys cancer cells. Originally used to treat leukemia in much higher doses, alemtuzumab was approved in late 2014 to treat relapsing forms of MS.
- Does it work? Two phase 3 studies published in ScienceDirect found that alemtuzumab is effective at reducing relapse rates and worsening of disabilities over two years. However, alemtuzumab had a difficult time being approved because it can cause serious side effects, including autoimmune conditions, infusion reactions, and increased risk of melanoma and other cancers. The FDA recommends only pursuing this drug if at least two other MS treatments have proved inadequate.
- What is it? Still an experimental drug, anti-LINGO-1 appears to repair nerve damage in people with acute optic neuritis. About half of patients with this eye disease go to develop MS, but reversing the damage can prevent this from happening.
- Does it work? Based on trials funded by Biogen Idec, anti-LINGO-1 improves nerve function compared to patients who take a placebo. This holds promise for the drug’s ability to reduce or even fully stop the progression of MS. So far, the drug has gone through two of the required three phases to be approved by the FDA.
Modified Story Memory Technique (mSMT)
- What is it? This unique treatment option treats the negative cognitive effects of MS, helping patients retain new memories, recall older information and improve the ability to concentrate. It involves memorizing and retelling simple stories with the help of a therapist.
- Does it work? Researchers at the Kessler Foundation Research Center conducted a clinical trial to examine the changes in cerebral activation following mSMT treatment. Researchers discovered that learning and memory areas of the brain were more active in MRI scans following mSMT sessions.
These new drugs and treatment plans are very promising for patients with multiple sclerosis! If you suffer from numbness and tingling caused by MS, we can help you find relief. Please contact Spinal Healthcare & Physical Medicine or call us at (260) 493-6565 for a free consultation.Leave a reply →