MS News that Caught My Eye Last Week: Ocrevus in the EU, Salt and Cognitive Problems, Searching for Myelin, Tecfidera Tolerance
This is a biggie. It’s been nearly a year since the FDA approved the use of Ocrevus here in the U.S. Finally, it’s been given the green light in Europe. Canada, Australia, Switzerland, and various countries in the Middle East, South America, and Eastern Europe were also ahead of the European Commission in granting this approval. I have to wonder what the holdup was in the EU. But, better late than never.
The European Commission has approved Roche’s Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) for both relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) and primary-progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) across the 28-member European Union.
The commission’s move — nearly 10 months after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Ocrevus in March 2017 — makes it the first approved PPMS treatment in Europe.
You’ve probably heard the expression “putting salt on the wound.” Here’s a study that suggests how caution might apply to MS. Of course, we’re just talking about mice, but this could be another indication that what you eat may impact your disease.
New research shows how a high-salt diet leads to excessive levels of interleukin-17 (IL-17) in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, causing changes in endothelial cells that result in dementia.
These findings suggest that therapeutics targeting IL-17 may help halt the neurovascular damages of MS and other autoimmune diseases linked to high levels of IL-17.
We all know that losing myelin can mean the loss of mobility for MS patients. But, doctors have never had a good way of locating, looking at, and assessing that loss. Now, they may be closer to having that ability. Researchers are studying a medication that, in mice and monkeys, seems to expose where myelin has been damaged. There’s a lot of very technical, scientific language in this story, but it’s worth weaving through to see what scientists think may be possible as they try to track where myelin has been destroyed.
A novel imaging approach enables assessment of key nervous system deterioration in multiple sclerosis (MS), a new study in mice suggests.
The research, “Development of a PET radioligand for potassium channels to image CNS demyelination,” was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
When Tecfidera was first approved about four years ago, it had high expectations. It’s a patient-friendly pill, and trials had reported it was effective at reducing MS relapses. But, this small study reports that about 60 percent of MS patients at a clinic in Sweden stopped using the therapy relatively quickly, for one reason or another. Only 400 patients were involved, but the results of this study mirror what I regularly see Tecfidera patients reporting in social media forums: discomfort, primarily stomach problems, and a desire to move to something else.
A majority of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients at a Swedish clinic who initiated treatment with Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate; DMF) either stopped or switched to another therapy within two years, a study reports.
Researchers in the observational study were not able to determine exact reasons for discontinuation. But, they wrote, “it is likely that lack of effectiveness, lack of tolerability, or a combination of the two contributed to the low persistence rates observed.”
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