Ask Dr. Nandi: FDA approves 1st drug to treat severe multiple sclerosis

Posted at 4:18 PM, Mar 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-29 18:32:49-04

Multiple sclerosis is a nervous system disease where a person’s brain and spinal cord are affected. 

The protective material that surrounds your nerve cells gets damaged and can leads to muscle weakness, coordination or balance issues, along with memory and thinking problems.  People with severe MS can lose their ability to walk.  They can also experience periods of remission.
The Food and Drug Administration approved Ocrevus late Tuesday after a large study found it slowed progression of the neurological disease and reduced symptoms.

This new drug affects a type of blood cell which is part of your immune system.

It seems to halt the progression of the disease, mostly for those who have relapsing multiple sclerosis. 

During the drug trial, patients saw a 47% reduction in their relapses when compared to other treatment options.  The patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis had a 24% risk of their disability progressing compared to those taking a placebo.

The drug also has fewer serious side effects than other existing treatments.  These range from injection site reactions to cold sores and upper respiratory infections.