What You Need to Know About Natalizumab (Tysabri)

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Natalizumab (Tysabri) is a drug used in the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). We’ve put together a list of things to know about the treatment using information from tysabri.com and the National MS Society.

MORE: Early use of Tecfidera and Tysabri improve MS patients’ outcome according to a study

  • Natalizumab is administered intravenously, usually every 28 days.
  • Patients are monitored for an hour after infusion for any adverse effects.
  • It has been proven to slow the progression of many common MS symptoms.
  • Can decrease the number of MS flares a person suffers.
  • Reduction of relapse rate in the clinical trial was more than 60 percent.
  • Natalizumab works by prohibiting the binding of white blood cells to molecules in the spinal cord and brain, limiting the normal immune response.
  • Natalizumab was approved by the FDA in 2004 after just a year of data from a two-year clinical trial.
  • People who take natalizumab are at a higher risk of developing the rare brain infection, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), and the risk increases the longer you take the drug or if the patient has had the JCV virus. Those with other immune-compromising diseases are advised not to take natalizumab.
  • Patients will undergo a risk assessment before beginning the treatment.
  • Regular liver tests are conducted to determine white blood cell counts and check for liver damage.
  • Common side effects include headaches, rashes, fatigue, pains in arms and legs, joint pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, lung infection, nose and throat infections, depression, and vaginitis.
  • Natalizumab is not advised for use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

MORE: Tysabri shows long-term safety and efficacy in study of  Japanese RRMS patients 

Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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7 comments

  1. Harold K. says:

    I was Dx’d with RRMS in 1995. I started with Betaserone, then Copaxone and then Avonex. These 3 treatments had unpleasant side effects. And none of these treatments seem two help improve my symptoms or the quality of my life. However right after Tysabri was brought back onto the market I started on it and I had over 100 successful and helpful infusion. I never had any side effects with the exception of feeling better. There is no question in my mind that Tysabri helped to significantly improve the quality of my life. If you have any questions or concerns about starting tysabri it’s time to have a discussion with your neurologist Tysabri might benefit you as it did for me.

  2. Tom says:

    What about disease rebound after discontinuation of Tysabri dosing? Tysabri prevents migration of activated T-cells into brain, but does not eliminate them. They can attack upon drug withdrawal. In some cases, it’s been devastating. No mention on the Tysabri website. It’s something prospective patients should be aware of before dosing.

  3. Heracles says:

    PML is worse than death and has struck hundreds of patients that have used Tysabri. The JC virus, which causes PML, has been found to replicate much more in Tysabri users and has been found to be harbored in their stem cells…making autologous stem cell therapy a fail.

    • S C says:

      Heracles- I have read various percentages of survival rates after Tysabri related PML, but little information is readily available on the outcome for those who live. My relative (JVC NEGATIVE EVEN AFTER PML SYMPTOMS) survived several months. I won’t go into detail, but I agree it was worse than death. It was horrendous.

  4. S Case says:

    Heracles- I have read various percentages of survival rates after Tysabri related PML, but little information is readily available on the outcome for those who live. My relative (JVC NEGATIVE EVEN AFTER PML SYMPTOMS) survived several months. I won’t go into detail, but I agree it was worse than death. It was horrendous.

  5. Tw says:

    Hi I’m thinking about starting tysabri — I’ve had rrms for 21 years. Been on copaxone, rebiff,avonex,tecfidera. My new choices are Ocrevus or tysabri, I’m a bit scared of tysabri but my neurologist says it works really well — any insight, I’m 42 with 2 young children.

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