Understanding Multiple Sclerosis Medications (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Immunosuppressants for MS
Mitoxantrone (Novantrone) is a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved immunosuppressant used in multiple sclerosis. Other immunosuppressants, such as cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), azathioprine (Imuran), or methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall), are prescribed primarily in specialized centers; but their efficacy in multiple sclerosis remains controversial and they are not FDA approved for this use. These drugs should not substitute for the immune-modulating drugs as first-line agents in newly diagnosed relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Some physicians find a role for Cytoxan, Imuran, and methotrexate as last-resort measures for patients who have not responded to the FDA approved drugs or that have a fulminant (malignant) course of multiple sclerosis that may be life threatening.
How immunosuppressants work: This group includes a wide variety of agents that work in many different ways, but they all interfere in the immune-system processes that cause inflammation.
Mitoxantrone (Novantrone): indicated for reducing neurologic disability and/or the frequency of clinical relapses in patients with secondary (chronic) progressive, progressive relapsing, or worsening relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (i.e., patients whose neurologic status is significantly abnormal between relapses). Novantrone is not indicated in the treatment of patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/4/2014
Fernando Dangond, MD
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