Efficient Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis

November 29, 2006 by  
Filed under MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

By Groshan Fabiola

Despite the fact that there is no specific cure for multiple sclerosis in present, existing treatments are effective in slowing down the progression rate of the disease and preventing the development of further complications. Considering the fact that most of the effects of multiple sclerosis are irreversible, it is imperative to timely diagnose the disease and begin the administration of the appropriate course of medications. With the right treatment and with the aid of supportive therapies (physiotherapy and kinetotherapy), patients with multiple sclerosis can regain control of their bodies and live normal, active lives.

The medications available today are used to accomplish a series of goals in patients with multiple sclerosis: some medication treatments are aimed at slowing the progression rate of the disease, while others are aimed at ameliorating its generated symptoms and prolonging the periods of remission. The medications that are nowadays extensively used to delay and control symptomatic flare-ups among patients with multiple sclerosis are known as “ABC drugs”. This category of medications consists of Avonex, Betaseron and Copaxone.

The so called ABC drugs are crucial in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, as they reduce the intensity, duration and frequency of the immune system’s attacks on healthy nervous cells. These medications act by triggering a series of biologic mechanisms that decrease the autoimmune response of the body. Prescribed in the appropriate dose, each of these previously mentioned multiple sclerosis medications can reduce the frequency and intensity of specific neurological symptoms by up to 30 percent.

Avonex (Beta-interferon-1a) is a very effective multiple sclerosis medication that is administered under the form of intramuscular injections. This medication is used to successfully alleviate a series of symptoms such as muscular weakness, visual problems, as well as cognitive affections (poor concentration, memory loss, confusion). Administered in the appropriate dose, Avonex can also reduce the frequency of symptomatic flare-ups. Due to the fact that it also generates various side-effects ranging in intensity from mild to moderate, Avonex is usually associated with acetaminophen and ibuprofen, drugs that minimize the undesired effects of Avonex on the body. The side-effects produced by the prolonged use of Avonex comprise fever, chills and muscular pain. However, these symptoms are completely eliminated when the treatment is interrupted.

Betaseron (Beta-interferon-1b) is an effective multiple sclerosis medication primarily administered to patients with secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis. Betaseron is administered under the form of subcutaneous injections and produces the best results on long-term use. The side-effects generated by Betaseron are usually mild and consist of flu-like symptoms and local skin irritation at the site of the injection.

Copaxone (Glatiramer acetate or Copolymer-1) is yet another efficient medication used to decrease the frequency and duration of multiple sclerosis flare-ups. This medication is also administered as subcutaneous injections. Unlike interferon-based medications, Copaxone is very well tolerated by the body and produces no perceivable side-effects. Under special circumstances, Copaxone can produce temporary irritation and tenderness at the injection site.

Apart from the popular ABC drugs, the treatment of multiple sclerosis often includes medications such as steroids (anti-inflammatory drugs), as well as anticonvulsive and antispastic medications. Amantidine (Symmetrel) is often used to eliminate the states of generalized fatigue characteristic to multiple sclerosis, while medications such as Oxybutynin (Ditropan) and tolterodine (Detrol) are administered to patients confronted with bladder problems due to implication of multiple sclerosis at the level of the urinary system. Chemotherapeutic drugs such as methotrexate and azathioprine (Imuran) are rarely used, being prescribed to patients confronted with severe types of multiple sclerosis.

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STATINS TO HELP MS

March 22, 2006 by  
Filed under MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

17 March 2006

A DRUG to lower cholesterol could also help multiple sclerosis sufferers, say researchers.

Tests on mice with a similar auto-immune condition produced remarkable results when cholesterol busting statin Lipitor was combined with MS drug Copaxone.

It helped prevent or reduce paralysis, said scientists at the University of California and Stanford University Medical Center in California.

Team member Dr Olaf Stuve said: “It represents a potential new strategy for treating MS.” The MS Society said: “These are promising results.”

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Multiple Sclerosis Drug Combined with Lipitor May Stop or Reverse Disease – Dosages Cut in Half with Fewer Negative Side Effects

March 22, 2006 by  
Filed under MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

March 16th 2006

Combining treatments may improve outcomes for patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), according to research done on mice and published online by the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Scott S. Zamvil and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco found that mice treated with a combination of Glatiramer acetate (GA) and atorvastatin (Lipitor) demonstrated “a significant prevention and reversal of clinical MS severity” of MS symptoms.

Lipitor is a cholesterol lowering drug that has previously been shown to improve MS symptoms. Glatiramer acetate (Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.’s Copaxone) is a drug currently approved for MS treatment. The researchers found that treating MS with combinations of immune modulating drugs can greatly reduce MS disease.

According to the researchers, treating EAE (experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis) mice with the combination therapy caused the animals to lose less myelin, prevented CNS inflammation, and MS disease incidence.

The researchers then treated isolated inflammatory cells called macrophages with these drugs and found that the combination therapy mediated its effects by promoting the secretion of the anti-inflammatory molecule IL-10 and suppressed production of the proinflammatory molecules IL-12 and TNF-alpha.

The researchers believe that the combined delivery of drugs, which act through different mechanisms, may enhance the therapeutic efficacy of MS and reduce the negative side effects. Also the drug dosages were less than the dosages used in regular single drug treatments.

Copaxone has been shown to be 30 to 35 percent effective alone. According to Bloomberg News, all MS drugs have to be injected, and have “severe side effects”. None of the MS drugs are very potent.

Lipitor on the other hand can be taken orally and is considered relatively safe. Lipitor, the best selling drug in the world, appears to block production of immune system agents, called cytokines, involved in the disease process. Currently the University of California, San Francisco is looking for 152 patients at 14 hospitals to participate in clinical trials. These trials will investigate the effect Lipitor alone has on MS. Contact the office of Scott Zamvil, associate professor of neurology at University of California, San Francisco, for more information.

There are 400,000 MS sufferers in the US. The illness causes neurological symptoms that include loss of motor control, blindness and temporary recurring paralysis. The condition occur when the body’s natural defenses are over stimulated and begin stripping the protective insulation, called myelin, from nerve fibers in the central nervous system, which includes the brain, optic nerves and spinal cord.

Dan Wilson
Best Syndication

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication
Last Updated Thursday, March 16, 2006 06:07 PM

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.