From Our Archives

New Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Suspended

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

Marketing has been suspended for a new drug that reduced relapses among people with multiple sclerosis (MS). This important action was taken after reports of two serious adverse events in persons receiving therapy with the new drug which is called Tysabri (natalizumab).

Multiple sclerosis is a common chronic disease of the nervous system. The symptoms tend to become evident between age 20 and 50. These symptoms reflect inflammation and destruction of the myelin sheath, the protective covering that surrounds and insulates nerves. When myelin is damaged, the nerves eventually become damaged, leading to disrupted transmission of signals within the nervous system.

A multiple sclerosis patient typically has the acute (sudden) onset of symptoms, which constitute an attack of multiple sclerosis. The symptoms are extremely variable and can range from mild to severe. Depending on which nerves are damaged, people with multiple sclerosis may have disturbances in vision, speech, walking, writing, or memory. Muscle spasms, fatigue, numbness, and prickling pain are also common symptoms along with a loss of sensation, dizziness, and occasionally hearing loss.