MS News Notes: Tascenso ODT Approval, Baclofen Disdain, Myelin

Columnist Ed Tobias comments on the week's top MS news

Ed Tobias avatar

by Ed Tobias |

Share this article:

Share article via email
banner for

Welcome to “MS News Notes,” where I comment on multiple sclerosis (MS) news stories that caught my eye last week. Here’s a look at what’s been happening:

Gilenya alternative

The disease-modifying therapy (DMT) Gilenya (fingolimod) has been around since 2010. Now the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a bioequivalent to Gilenya called Tascenso ODT.

A bioequivalent is a medication that has the same active ingredient as the original drug and is just as safe and effective. MS News Today‘s Lindsey Shapiro reports the details in “Tascenso ODT, a Gilenya Alternative, Wins New FDA Approval in MS.”

But I have a question: Will Tascenso ODT be available at a lower cost than Gilenya when it becomes available in February? Hopefully it will, because the pharmaceutical company Novartis plans to drop its copay support for Gilenya patients at the end of 2023. That’s likely to send those patients searching for a new DMT.

Recommended Reading
An illustration for the top 10 stories of the year.

Top 10 MS Stories of 2022

Giving up on baclofen

Another medication that’s been around for a long time is baclofen, which is used to treat spasticity. I’ve used baclofen off and on for decades to try to ease my jerky legs at night while in bed.

A small dose works for me — sometimes. A larger dose, however, makes my legs too weak to function.

Recently, though, I’ve dropped using baclofen altogether. Apparently, I’m not alone, as the story “65% of Patients Discontinue Therapy Baclofen Within a Year in Study,” written by Patricia Inacio, reports.

Trial possible of myelin-protecting medication

Lucid-MS is the name of an experimental oral medication that may protect against inflammation that damages myelin, the protective sheath that coats our nerves.

The company FSD Pharma recently submitted an application to the governmental agency Health Canada seeking to start a Phase 1 clinical trial to assess whether Lucid-MS is safe and tolerable.

A similar application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may follow.

The details are in Marisa Wexler‘s story “FSD Asking to Open Trial of Lucid-MS, Myelin-protecting Therapy.”

It is hoped that Lucid-MS will eventually be approved for use by people at all stages of MS. Too often, MS therapies are targeted only at people with relapsing-remitting MS. A broader target is something I think will be welcomed by everyone living with MS.

Which MS news stories caught your eye this week? Please share in the comments below or at our MS News Today Forums

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.


Brad avatar


"Will Tascenso ODT be available at a lower cost than Gilenya when it becomes available in February?"

I see no reason to think that is the case. My (quick) reading of that announcement is this a new formulation which should be easier to take (e.g., for people who have difficulty swallowing). This feature is often used as a reason to price a drug at a premium, even though the underlying drug itself, and the benefits it confers, is exactly the same.

The price support is being dropped b/c of this part, "However, generic versions of Gilenya are expected to become available during this year..." Those should be at a lower cost due to their generic status.

ML avatar


Very well said Brad, you sound as if you are in the business.

The same game for all brand names, then generics, and/or a new dosage forms considered Brand name, thus Brand name high price, Pharma needs to recoup their investment in theory.

Ed, Thank you for writing the article.

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Brad,

Very good points and I agree with them all. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


Penny-Marie Wright avatar

Penny-Marie Wright

Will it work after you already have MS? As in maybe help reverse the damage a person already has?
"Lucid-MS is the name of an experimental oral medication that may protect against inflammation that damages myelin, the protective sheath that coats our nerves.'

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Penny-Marie,

It's not known yet. This medication is still in the research stage. So far, it's only been shown to prevent myelin damage in mice. Hopefully, it will reach the stage, someday, where it can be submitted to government regulators for approval. But that is sometime away.



Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.

Dancing Doodle

Did you know some of the news and columns on Multiple Sclerosis News Today are recorded and available for listening on SoundCloud? These audio news stories give our readers an alternative option for accessing information important for them.

Listen Here