Font Size
A
A
A
...
5
...

Multiple Sclerosis (cont.)

clatiramer (Copaxone), natalizumab (Tysabri), fingolimod (Gilenya), teriflunomide (Aubagio)

  • Glatiramer acetate (Copaxone) is a mixture of amino acids used to treat multiple sclerosis. Glatiramer acetate has been shown to decrease the relapse rates of multiple sclerosis by about one-third (if compared to patients receiving placebo) and appears to also have an effect on the overall progression of multiple sclerosis. Common side effects with Glatiramer acetate include a sensation of chest tightening following the injection, and injection site reactions which may include rare skin lesions referred to as lipoatrophy. Copaxone is given every day as an injection below the skin.
  • Natalizumab (Tysabri) is a monoclonal antibody that binds to white blood cells and interferes with their movement from the bloodstream into the brain and spinal cord. White blood cells are thought to play a role in causing the nervous system damage in multiple sclerosis. Tysabri decreases relapses by about two- thirds (if compared to patients receiving placebo) and reduces the accumulation of disability, but carries a warning for increasing the risk of progressive multifocal encephalopathy (PML), a potentially fatal brain infection. Because of this risk, Tysabri can only be given to patients that have registered for treatment under a controlled drug distribution program.
  • Fingolimod (Gilenya) is a daily oral medication to treat MS that was approved by the U.S. FDA in 2010 as the first oral medication to treat MS. Although the exact mechanism of action of fingolimod is unclear, it appears to work by reducing the number of lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell that is important for immunity and the inflammation process) in the blood. Like many injectable therapies for MS, the long-term safety of fingolimod is unknown. The most common side effects of fingolimod are headache, flu, diarrhea, back pain, elevations of liver enzymes in the blood, and cough. Other side effects are also possible including eye problems, so those taking this drug should have regular ophthalmologic evaluations.
  • Teriflunomide (Aubagio) is another newer oral medication for MS. This medication works by inhibiting dihydroorotate dehydrogenase, a mitochondrial enzyme involved in pyrimidine synthesis. Its side effects can include reduced white blood cell counts and liver problems. It is recommended that those taking this drug receive regular blood tests after beginning the medication.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/2/2016

Must Read Articles Related to Multiple Sclerosis

Anatomy of the Central Nervous System
Anatomy of the Central Nervous System The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord.learn more >>
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
Benign Positional Vertigo Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a common cause of vertigo. Causes of BPPV include infections, nerve inflammation, ear surgery complications, medi...learn more >>
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
Complete Blood Count (CBC) Complete blood count (CBC) is one of the most common blood tests. The complete blood count test provides valuable information about the quantity of the differen...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Multiple Sclerosis:

Multiple Sclerosis - Causes

What caused your multiple sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis - Prognosis

What is your multiple sclerosis prognosis?

Multiple Sclerosis - Symptoms

The symptoms of multiple sclerosis can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?

Multiple Sclerosis - Effective Treatment

What treatment has been effective for your multiple sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis - Experience

Please share your experience with multiple sclerosis.

Multiple Sclerosis - Treatment Medications

What medications have been helpful with your MS symptoms?


Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Multiple Sclerosis »

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS).

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary