5 posts tagged “MS treatments”

MS research: What’s the latest?

Posted February 23rd, 2018 by

Keeping tabs on the latest MS research isn’t always easy. So, our team of in-house health professionals took a closer look into some of the treatments in the research pipeline for people living with MS. Most of these treatments are in the final phase of clinical development — phase III clinical trials. In this phase, researchers compare the safety and effectiveness of the new treatment against the current standard treatment.

Check out the roundup:

  1. Ozanimod – An oral treatment in phase III clinical trials with the potential to reduce relapses and prevent neurological damage. Ozanimod is reported to work like Gilenya (fingolimod) but with some potential for fewer side effects. A new drug application for ozanimod was submitted to the FDA in December 2017. This application is seeking approval for the use of this agent to treat relapsing multiple sclerosis. It is possible that an FDA decision could be made on this application in the second half of 2018.
  2. Ponesimod – An oral treatment in phase III clinical trials that prevents immune cells from damaging myelin that insulates nerve-cells in patients with MS. A new drug application for Ponesimod is possible within the next couple of years.
  3. Siponimod – Similar to Ozanimod, Siponimod is an oral treatment in phase III clinical trials that may reduce risk of relapse and disease progression. With a new drug application in the next year or two, the treatment has the potential for approval and launch 6-12 months later.
  4. ALKS 8700 – This oral treatment (currently in phase III clinical trials) is a slightly different formulation of Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) but, according to Alkermes, has fewer gastrointestinal side effects. With a new drug application in 2018, the treatment could be available 6-12 months later.

In other treatment news:

Laquinimod – You might recognize the name because initially, it showed some promise. More recently it’s performed poorly in clinical trials. Laquinimod is still being developed but in Phase II studies (vs. Phase III which is the final phase of clinical development), which could mean it’s at least a couple years away.

Looking for more info on research and treatments? Join the community today to learn more and connect with more than 60,000 members living with MS.

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Marijuana and MS: Get the scoop

Posted October 23rd, 2017 by

From legality to availability, recreational use and potential use as treatment, marijuana is a hot topic. In the MS forum, members are talking about marijuana and its potential to relieve symptoms of MS like pain, tremor and spasticity. We wanted to know more, so we asked our Health Data Integrity team to take a look at this topic. So, what is marijuana and how can it impact health and MS? Take a look.

First, a quick refresher: What is Marijuana?

Marijuana is a mixture of dried flowers from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plants. The marijuana plant contains over 85 cannabinoids that are found in the leaves and buds of the female plant. Cannabinoids are classified as:

  • Phytocannabinoids: found in leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds of the plant.
  • Endogenous: made by the human body.
  • Purified: naturally occurring and purified from plant sources.
  • Synthetic: synthesized in a lab.

Cannabinoids create different effects depending on which receptors they bind to. These chemical compounds are responsible for marijuana’s effects on the body with the most common being delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Different strains with different combinations and levels of the various cannabinoids along with different methods of consumption give users varied effects.

How does marijuana impact MS?

Despite currently available FDA-approved treatments, many patients with MS still have symptoms. Recent studies suggest treatment with smoked cannabis and oral cannabis extract may improve patient perception of pain and spasticity.

The American Academy of Neurology, conducted a literature review and released a guideline on the use of marijuana in MS patients. This guideline reviews a number of studies where marijuana is used for MS and the findings of this review include:

  • Oral cannabis extract and synthetic THC may be effective for reducing patient-reported symptoms of spasticity and pain, but not bladder symptoms and neuropathic pain.
  • Nabiximols (Sativex®), an oromucosal spray, may be effective in reducing patient-reported spasticity, pain, and urinary frequency, but not urinary incontinence, anxiety symptoms, sleep problems, cognitive symptoms, or fatigue. However, it is important to note that this agent is not currently approved for use in the US.
  • There isn’t enough evidence to fully determine the safety or effectiveness of smoked marijuana in treating any MS symptoms.

If you are interested in reading more studies involving the use of marijuana in MS patients, check out these resources:

  • Long term effects of Sativex® on cognition (click here for more information)
  • Smoked cannabis for spasticity (click here for more information)
  • Dronabinol and pain (click here for more information)

So, what is the takeaway?

While preliminary research shows that marijuana may improve symptoms in patients with MS, more extensive clinical trials are in progress to evaluate the safety, efficacy, and dose of cannabis for patients with MS.

One of these studies is currently recruiting participants to investigate the effects of medical marijuana usage on physical functions on MS patients. To find out if you qualify and the location of the study, click here for more information.

Long-term safety of marijuana use for symptom management for patients with MS is not fully known. So, patients should be aware of the pros and cons of this treatment option and discuss the use of medical marijuana with their healthcare provider. While there are benefits that marijuana may provide for patients, there are many side effects that may limit the use of this therapy.

Most common side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory disturbance
  • Changes in mood

Source: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana

Want to know more?



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