New MS drug can be taken orally

    The FDA has approved a new drug for people with relapsing forms of Multiple Sclerosis – it’s the first of its kind that can be taken orally, rather than by injection.

    The FDA has approved a new drug for people with relapsing forms of Multiple Sclerosis – it’s the first of its kind that can be taken orally, rather than by injection.

    New Jersey drug maker Novartis says “Gilenya” has shown to slow the progression of MS and reduce relapses – but for some people affected by this chronic disease, it’s the fact that the drug can be taken orally that’s the big selling point.

    Many patients have to inject their drugs several times a week, and say swallowing a pill will be much easier and less painful.

    Karen Mariner from the Greater Delaware Valley chapter of the international MS society says many patients like the alternative.

    Mariner: They are expensive medications, nobody likes taking a needle, so this has been a moment we have been waiting for an awfully long time it’s a significant improvement, a significant addition in the arsenal against MS.

    Mariner says injectable drugs also tend to be more expensive.

    Dr. Thomas Leist directs the Comprehensive MS Center at Thomas Jefferson University. He says he will only recommend this drug for some of his patients:

    Leist: It is going to be a balance between potential risk, and also how a person responds to having to inject or take a pill.

    Leiz says the new drug may have long-term side effects which are not fully understood yet.

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