Grounds for optimism in new MS drug trial

Related articles

In the midst of the usual scientific lingo and jargon, scientists heard a wow following a report of a new treatment possibility for multiple sclerosis.

A phase III trial of dimethyl fumarate (BG12) for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) showed the drug s surprising efficacy in preventing relapses and slowing the progression of this disorder. Multiple sclerosis affects the central nervous system and can lead to a wide variety of neurological problems, including double vision, bladder problems, and motor impairments. The relapsing-remitting form generally involves periods of more intense symptoms, or relapses, followed by relative stability but the overall level of disability increases over time.

In this study involving over 1,200 patients, among those who received the drug, only a quarter experienced any relapse over the course of two years, compared to almost half of those taking a placebo. Additionally, signs of the overall progression of the disease were significantly lower in those patients who were receiving the drug. The only significant side effects were flushing and minor gastrointestinal problems. Since dimethyl fumarate has been in use for many years in Europe to treat psoraisis, the overall safety of this drug has been supported.

ACSH's Dr. Josh Bloom notes, Dimethyl fumarate is an extremely common chemical. In fact, its active form fumaric acid is found in every cell in our bodies. This would be a very cheap treatment option.