A multiple sclerosis (MS) patient who had been taking Gilenya, a pill-form therapy for those who have the disease, is reported to have contracted progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).
PML is a rare brain disorder that can be fatal but, because of it showing up in those who have under-gone Tysabri infusions for an “x” number of years, scientists have been able to find a way to counter act it.
It is a long drawn out process that takes months, if not years, to come back from, but most patients do recover.
According to Tuesday’s press release, the patient had been taking Gilenya for seven months but had quit due to side-effects. [see release]
In a case of PML reported last year, the patient had previously been doing Tysabri infusions.
Novartis is working with the physician who reported the case so they can get details on all “possible contributing factors”, including whatever else the patient had been taking that was beyond typical MS therapy.
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A Novartis spokesperson said, “The course of the underlying neurological disease was rapid with some atypical findings for MS on the MRI scans of the brain and spinal cord, as well as some unusual clinical features.”
Typically MS patients, whether they are on a therapy or not, will have to use other medications as well.
Over the counter medications, vitamins and/or alternative all-natural products are taken to combat various symptoms an MS patient might have and can become a part of the daily regimen and Novartis will be taking all this into consideration.
Biogen had just noted a week ago they would be watching for potential cases of PML in those patients who have switched to Tecfidera as, “Two thirds of the patients who discontinued it [Tysabri] use had done so to switch to Tecfidera”.
They had just dealt with the death of a female MS patient who had been taking Tecfidera for seven months though she had discontinued it due to issues with side effects two weeks prior.
Biogen’s patient had died due to aspiration pneumonia.
It was three years ago when St. Josef Hospital at Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany was able to publish how “Natalizumab-associated PML can be well managed in some cases”. This was at a time when PML became a scary issue again for those undergoing Tysabri infusions.
For more info: for those who live in Lima, Ohio, the Northwestern Ohio MS Chapter can be reached at: 401 Tomahawk Drive, Maumee, OH at (419) 897-7263. They are located approximately an hour and a half from Lima, Ohio and 45 minutes from Findlay, Ohio. For directions please click here at Google Maps
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Sources: http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/07/25/us-biogenidec-results-idINBRE96O0GF20130725; http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/30/novartis-gilenya-idUSL6N0G02A520130730; http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/30/novartis-gilenya-idUSL6N0G02A5… http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/pml/pml.htm