Lemtrada (Alemtuzumab) for Multiple Sclerosis

Last updated May 11, 2022, by Teresa Carvalho, MS

Fact-checked by Ines Martins, PhD

FAQs about Lemtrada

Lemtrada was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November 2014 for the treatment of adults with relapsing forms of MS, including relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and active secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. The medication, alemtuzumab, had originally been approved in 2007 under the brand name Campath, which was indicated for a form of blood cancer called chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Based on animal data, Lemtrada may cause harm to a developing fetus. Patients who are able to become pregnant should use contraception while on Lemtrada, and for four months after each treatment course.

There are no known interactions between Lemtrada and alcohol. However, drinking alcohol can potentially exacerbate some side effects associated with the medication, including low platelet levels, called thrombocytopenia, and liver damage. Safe alcohol use should be discussed by patients on Lemtrada with their healthcare team, who can make the best recommendation based on the particular case.

In clinical trials, Lemtrada induced a rapid and marked depletion of lymphocytes (B-cells and T-cells) within a few days of infusion. However, it is unclear when the medication starts to impact clinical measures of disease or specific symptoms. Patients are advised to discuss with their healthcare providers how Lemtrada can help them.

While hair loss was not reported in clinical trials as a side effect of Lemtrada, some patients who received the medication after its approval have noted this issue. The treatment also can cause thyroid problems, which may result in unexplained weight gain or weight loss. Patients who experience any unexpected side effects are advised to talk with their healthcare team.

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.

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