New Treatment Possibility for MS

Medical Author: Melissa Stoppler, M.D.
Medical Editor: Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D.

FDA Public Health Advisory Suspended Marketing of Tysabri (natalizumab)

March 3, 2005, FDA is issuing this public health advisory to inform patients and health care providers about the suspended marketing of Tysabri (natalizumab) due to two serious adverse events reported with its use. FDA has received a report from Biogen Idec, the manufacturer of Tysabri, of one confirmed, fatal case and one additional case of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) in patients receiving Tysabri for multiple sclerosis (MS). Both patients were enrolled in a long-term clinical trial and had been taking Tysabri for more than two years. There have been no previous cases of PML reported in patients taking Tysabri. For the rest of the FDA press release, please click here.

Once-a-month intravenous therapy with a new drug, appears to reduce relapses among people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a recent study.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease of the nervous system most commonly occurring in adults between the ages of 20 and 50, and is caused by inflammation and destruction of the myelin sheath, a protective covering that surrounds nerve tissue. When myelin is damaged, the underlying nerves eventually become damaged, leading to disrupted transmission of signals within the nervous system. While the exact cause of multiple sclerosis is unknown, doctors believe that exposure to a toxin or infectious agent early in life might trigger an abnormal response by the body's own immune system that leads to the progressive damage.