Monday, March 30, 2009

Biogen Idec May Develop Treatment for Tysabri Side Effect

Tysabri is an effective drug for treating multiple sclerosis, however, the drug was pulled from the market in 2005 after three cases of Progressive Multifocal Encephalopathy were reported.

The drug was later cleared by the FDA after it was determined that it's effectiveness outweighed it's risks.

This is the opinion of the FDA. PML is a brain infection that cuases irreversible damage and can be fatal. Since 2008 there have been five new cases of PML.

It was reported today that Biogen Idec is testing a treatment for PML as a side effect of Tysabri.

Tysabri, a laboratory-engineered antibody, is designed to suppress the immune attack that leads to MS.

Biogen has been searching for a PML treatment since 2005 when the first cases of were reported. The drug that has shown the most promise recently is called mefloquine and is a pill used to treat malaria.

A clinical trial is now testing mefloquine in 40 patients with PML from any cause, whether drug-related or HIV. Biogen is trying to see if the drug is effective at treating PML after the infection has already developed, since this is likely to be the case in affected Tysabri users.
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