The report, “Cryptosporidiosis after treatment with fingolimod: a case report and pharmacovigilance review,” was published in the jorunal BMC Infectious Diseases.
Gilenya is an approved MS therapy, marketed by Novartis, that works by ‘trapping’ immune cells in lymph nodes (structures of the immune system). This prevents inflammation that can damage the nervous system; however, it may also limit the immune system’s ability to fight off invaders like bacteria, viruses, and parasites. For this reason, individuals on Gilenya treatment may be at increased risk of certain infections.
Cryptosporidiosis is a disease caused by parasites of the genus Cryptosporidium. This infection is characterized by watery diarrhea, which is usually mild and resolves by itself within a week or two. But it can be serious, even life-threatening, in people who are malnourished or who have weakened immune systems.
Researchers in France reported the case of a 60-year-old woman with MS who was being treated with Gilenya and developed cryptosporidiosis.
“To the best of our knowledge, no cases of cryptosporidiosis associated with fingolimod have been reported in the published literature,” the researchers wrote.
The patient started using Gilenya in August 2017. About a year later, in September 2018, she went to the emergency room complaining fever and pain in the abdomen. Blood analysis revealed mild inflammation, and abnormally low numbers of immune cells in the blood (lymphopenia).
She was given antibiotics, and the fever abated. But the abdominal pain persisted, and she subsequently developed diarrhea.
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