Multiple Sclerosis: Multiple Challenges, Multiple Solutions
WebMD Live Events Transcript
According to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, more than 350,000 persons in the United States today are living with the multiple challenges of multiple sclerosis (MS). In observance of National MS Education and Awareness Month, neurologist Howard L. Weiner, MD, joined us on March 3 to answer your questions.
The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.
Tysabri works by stopping white blood cells called T cells from entering the brain. It is believed that it also stopped important T cells which keep a certain virus in the brain under control. Because these T cells were blocked, the virus was reactivated and led to these serious side effects.
What is needed now is longer-term follow-up on all patients who received Tysabri to see how common this is, whether there are any patterns and whether it occurred in patients receiving Tysabri alone or only in patients receiving Tysabri plus Avonex. We don't know the answer.
It was absolutely correct to stop treatment with the drug at this time because it is theoretically possible, if more people were treated and this is a common side effect, there would be many serious side effects and deaths. It is also possible that this is a very rare occurrence and after watching and monitoring people, the drug could be reintroduced. We really need more time to follow patients and learn about what happened to protect against any unwanted side effects.
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