Natalizumab for Multiple Sclerosis
How It Works
Natalizumab stops certain immune system cells from getting into the central nervous system. It blocks the inflammatory response that happens in multiple sclerosis (MS). Natalizumab is given as an injection in a vein (intravenous, or IV).
Why It Is Used
Natalizumab is used to treat people with MS who have relapses followed by periods of recovery (relapsing-remitting MS). This drug is available for treating relapsing forms of MS when other medicines for MS have not worked.
How Well It Works
Natalizumab can decrease relapse rates in people with MS. It can lower the chances that a person with MS will be permanently disabled.1
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call your doctor right away if you have:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Warnings about serious side effects of natalizumab have been issued. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the drug's manufacturers have warned about:
In very few cases, natalizumab has caused a serious and life-threatening brain infection called PML (progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy). Natalizumab is tightly controlled because of this. If you take natalizumab, you will be watched closely for signs of any serious side effects.
Your risk for getting PML increases if you have any of these risk factors:
In those who have all three risk factors, about 1 person out of 85 will get PML.2
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Advice for women
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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