Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cladribine Tablets Show Promise as MS Treatment

There is big news in treatment for Multiple Sclerosis. At Queen Mary, University of London, researchers have been conducting a study with over 1,300 MS patients. Patients were given treatment either 2 or 4 treatment courses of cladribine or were given a placebo. Researchers monitored the patients through MRI scans. Patients on the new medication were 55% less likely to suffer a relapse and over 30% less likely worsening in their condition than were those patients who were taking the placebo.

Not only does the new pill seem to be effective but it will be a welcomed alternative to injection therapy. "Our study shows that cladribine tablets prevent relapses and slow down the progression of the disease making patients feel better. Importantly, it does so without the need for constant injections that are associated with unpleasant side effects," says professor Gavin Giovannoni, who is the lead researcher.

Since multiple sclerosis is an auto-immune disease, cladribine works by suppressing the immune system and, therefore, reduces the risk to the patient's nervous system. It is not clear if there are significant risks associated with having a depressed immune system. If it becomes available to patients, cladribine will be the first licensed treatment for MS which does not involve regular injections.
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