9 Approved MS Therapies You Should Know About
1. AMPYRA (dalfampridine)
Dalfampridine, marketed under the name Ampyra by Acorda Therapeutics in the United States (also referred to as Fampyra in Europe), is an FDA-approved drug that is used to improve walking in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Owing to its chemical properties and its role in the regulation of potassium channels on cell membranes, it is also used as a research tool in therapeutics dealing with several unmet medical conditions, as well as a convulsant to test for anti-seizure agents.
2. Aubagio (Teriflunomide)
Aubagio (chemically known as teriflunomide), marketed by Sanofi, is an active metabolite of the compound leflunomide and is a pyrimidine synthesis inhibitor. It is an oral formulation that has immunomodulatory properties, and can mitigate the rate and extent of damage caused to nerve fibers in neurodegenerative conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS).
Glatiramer acetate, manufactured and marketed under the name Copaxone by Teva Pharmaceuticals, is an immunomodulatory injectable drug used for combating the symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) in patients. It is a polymer of four basic amino acids found in myelin sheaths of nerve fibers and has been shown in studies to be effective in reducing the frequency of relapse in patients with remitting or relapsing MS.
Fingolimod, a drug manufactured by Novartis under the brand name Gilenya, is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved treatment for symptoms of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). It is immunomodulatory in nature and works to reduce MS exacerbations and delay progression toward disability.
5. Glatopa (Generic Form of Copaxone)
Glatopa, a generic form of Copaxone, is a glatiramer acetate injection designed to treat patients with relapsing and remitting forms of multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Approved for that indication by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is manufactured and marketed jointly by Momenta and Sandoz (a Novartis company). The formulation aims to reduce the intensity of flares, or exacerbations in RRMS patients and to increase the time interval between relapses, so as to reduce disease progression.
Lemtrada, manufactured by Genzyme (a Sanofi company), is a disease modifying therapy for people with relapsing-remitting forms of multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Biologically, it is a humanized monoclonal antibody aimed at specific receptors on the surface of immune cells to modulate immune responses. Although approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency recommends its use be restricted to RRMS patients who have had an inadequate response to two or more MS therapies.
Peginterferon beta-1a, known by its brand name Plegridy, is an approved treatment for relapsing and remitting forms of multiple sclerosis (RRMS). The drug is a “pegylated” form of interferon beta-1a, meaning polyethylene glycol (PEG) attaches to interferon molecules so as to enable them to maintain biologic effects for longer periods of time, allowing for less frequent dosing. It is an injectable formulation, administered subcutaneously, once every two weeks. Biogen Idec is responsible for clinical development and marketing of the drug in the United States and the European Union.
8. Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate)
Tecfidera0 (dimethyl fumarate, DMF) is an oral formulation approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for relapsing-remitting forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). It has also been studied and used to treat several forms of inflammatory diseases, such sarcoidosis, psoriasis, and necrobiosis lipoidic. Clinical trials of Tecfidera demonstrated its immunomodulatory effects in MS patients, where it was seen to significantly reduce relapse rates and to increase the time of disease progression compared to a placebo. Despite its immunomodulatory properties, it does not induce immune suppression.
9. Tysabri (Natalizumab)
Natalizumab (manufactured by Biogen Idec as Tysabri; previously named Antegren) is a humanized monoclonal antibody approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a monotherapy for the treatment relapsing-remitting forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and Crohn’s disease. Administered as an intravenous injection, the drug is believed to reduce or inhibit the ability of immune cells to invade the blood-brain barrier, protecting against autoimmune attacks by the body’s innate immune system to slow the worsening of symptoms and number of disease flares.
Tysabri is also approved as a disease-modifying monotherapy in the European Union (since 2006) for relapsing MS patients with high disease activity (two or more lesions in one year) despite treatment with a β-interferon or glatiramer acetate, and for those with rapidly evolving severe RRMS.