MS News That Caught My Eye Last Week: Ponvory, Ocrevus, COVID-19 Survey, Ampyra

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by Ed Tobias |

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Ponvory (ponesimod) Approved for Adults With Relapsing Forms of MS

Add one more medication to the disease-modifying therapy (DMT) arsenal. Ponvory is a once-a-day pill that aims to reduce immune system activity. It’s similar to Aubagio (teriflunomide), which I used for about two years, and which I believe helped limit my MS progression.

In the clinical study here, 71% of the people treated with Ponvory reported no relapses, compared with 61% of those treated with Aubagio. It would seem to be a good choice of DMTs for someone whose lifestyle makes it difficult to handle shots or infusions.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Ponvory (ponesimod) as an oral treatment for adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS).

The approval covers clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), and active secondary progressive MS (SPMS). The treatment is taken as a 20 mg tablet, once daily, with or without food.

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Ocrevus May Delay by 7 Years PPMS Patients’ Need for Wheelchair

This research reports that reaching a score of 7.0 on the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) was delayed for some Ocrevus patients compared with subjects on a placebo. But the researchers caution that “due to the restricted eligibility criteria for [the trial being monitored], patients were generally younger, had a shorter disease duration and had lower levels of disability than a typical population; therefore, it may be difficult to generalize these results to a broad real-world PPMS population.” So, it’s important to emphasize the “may” in “may delay the need.”

Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) treatment may delay the need for a wheelchair by seven years in patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS), a study reports.

This delay, drawn from clinical trial data on treatment-versus placebo-group patients and supported by real-world findings, likely translates to long-term benefits for PPMS patients, its researchers wrote.

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Survey: COVID-19 Concerns Affected MS Management

I’m not surprised by this information. But I think the survey is flawed. It was taken last April at only one hospital in New York City. At that time, COVID-19 was running rampant through that city. Also, little was known about the relationship between COVID-19, MS, and our disease-modifying therapies. I think this is a case of research that became outdated before it was published, and a similar survey taken today would have a very different result.

Concerns about COVID-19 caused people with multiple sclerosis (MS) to postpone or deviate from recommended care — including appointments, imaging scans, and laboratory tests, a survey found.

But notably, while most patients perceived their disease-modifying therapies as an added risk factor for COVID-19 infections, these concerns had little impact on treatment adherence.

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Ampyra Aids More Than Walking in MS, But Side Effects May Be of Concern

I was treated with Ampyra for about two years. I thought it improved my walking somewhat. At the time, however, my finger dexterity was never tested and my cognition was never a problem, so I can’t say whether or not it provided me with any benefit in those areas.

I don’t remember having any side effects. Apparently though, some side effects are serious, including seizures. Because of this, these researchers recommend that Ampyra require “administration under the guidance of a physician or pharmacist.” Am I missing something here? Don’t all prescription medications require this?

Treatment with oral Ampyra (dalfampridine) improves walking ability, finger dexterity, and cognition in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), an analysis of nine randomized clinical trials shows.

But the investigators caution the therapy should be taken only under expert medical guidance, due to its higher rate of potential side effects. …

The treatment is approved — sold under the brand name Fampyra in the EU, with generics also available — to help with walking in adults with MS. But despite Ampyra’s well-documented benefits in walking abilities, less is known regarding how it affects other symptoms, such as hand use and cognition.

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Note: 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 other 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. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Kris Verbeeck avatar

Kris Verbeeck

Ik herken het hele verhaal van vandaag. Ocrevus en fampyra zijn de basis van mijn behandeling als MS patiënt in primaire progressieve MS vorm.
En ja, na vijf jaar kon ik terug lopen. Deze medicatie gecombineerd met intensieve revalidatie is mijn behandelingskeuze.

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Translated by Google from the original comment:

I recognize the whole story of today. Ocrevus and fampyra are the basis of my treatment as an MS patient in primary progressive MS form. And yes, after five years I was able to walk back. This medication combined with intensive rehabilitation is my treatment choice.


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