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Monday, October 5, 2015

Smoking an MS Risk Factor Among MS Patients' Relatives

CHICAGO -- Cigarette smoking is a risk factor for developing multiple sclerosis among first-degree relatives of confirmed MS patients, according to an ongoing study of more than 2,600 such individuals.

The study, based on a model combining genetic and environmental risk factors to identify likelihood of developing MS, found in 1,696 first-degree relatives of MS patients (113 with MS themselves) that smoking is associated with MS susceptibility (P=0.0096), said lead study author Zongqi Xia, MD, PhD, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

The work, presented here at the American Neurological Association's annual meeting, did not find an association between infectious mononucleosis and risk of MS (P=0.39) -- of interest because past studies have linked MS to exposure to Epstein-Barr virus, which causes infectious mononucleosis.

The investigators found the incidence of MS in this population to be 123 per 100,000 -- a rate that is 20 to 30 times higher than that of the general population, Xia said. Consequently, the model holds promise for identifying individuals at the highest risk of developing MS who could be good candidates for prevention efforts.

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Multiple Sclerosis Could Be Treated With a Surprise Medication

An already approved medication used for bladder problems might help to treat multiple sclerosis, according to researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Lead author Fraser J. Sim, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences stated “We have identified a new drug target that promotes stem cell therapy for myelin-based disease, such as MS.”
The research appeared in the Journal of Neuroscience and was funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Kalec Multiple Sclerosis Foundation and the Empire State Stem Cell Fund.
The medication is called solifenacin, which has already been approved by the federal drug administration (FDA) to treat overactive bladder. The drug targets a receptor for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, known as the muscarinic receptor. It could also act on cells that remyelinate the nerves of the body. Myelin is the fatty substance that wraps around neurons and is damaged in multiple sclerosis due to an autoimmune attack. Oligodendocytes are specialized cells that produce the myelin.
“Our hypothesis is that in MS, the oligodendrocyte progenitor cells seem to get stuck,” Sim noted. “When these cells don’t mature properly, they don’t differentiate into myelinating oligodendrocytes.”
In the study, Sim and his coworkers studied the molecular pathways that control how oligodendrocyte cells formed. Then they tried to identify drugs that could change how much myelin the oligodendrocytes produce.

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Creating Life Balance with MS - a Video presentation by Jessica Thomas, LCSW

WATCH, LEARN and Share this video presentation that helps you to Fit MS into Your life

Jessica's talk begins approx 5-1/2 minutes into this video

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Find a Lemtrada Learning Program-event near you

Learn what an expert has to say about an infusion treatment for relapsing MS
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LEMTRADA is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Because of its risks, LEMTRADA is generally used in people who have tried 2 or more MS medicines that have not worked well enough. It is not known if LEMTRADA is safe and effective for use in children under 17 years of age.
Do not receive LEMTRADA if you are infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
LEMTRADA live events start now.
Attend an MS event near you to learn more about LEMTRADA, an infusion treatment for relapsing MS.
If you or someone you know has relapsing MS, it can help to hear information about treatment options. That's why we're letting you know about upcoming free MS events in your area. Join us to hear from an MS expert about LEMTRADA, an infusion treatment for relapsing MS.
LEMTRADA can cause serious side effects including:
Serious autoimmune problems: Some people receiving LEMTRADA develop a condition where the immune cells in your body attack other cells or organs in the body (autoimmunity), which can be serious and may cause death. Serious autoimmune problems may include:
Immune thrombocytopenia, which is when reduced platelet counts in your blood cause severe bleeding that, if not treated, may cause life-threatening problems. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms: easy bruising; bleeding from a cut that is hard to stop; heavier menstrual periods than normal; bleeding from your gums or nose that is new or takes longer than usual to stop; small, scattered spots on your skin that are red, pink, or purple
Kidney problems called anti-glomerular basement membrane disease, which can, if untreated, lead to severe kidney damage, kidney failure that needs dialysis, a kidney transplant, or death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms: blood in the urine (red or tea-colored urine); swelling of legs or feet; coughing up blood
It is important for you to have blood and urine tests before you receive, while you are receiving and every month, for 4 years or longer, after you receive your last LEMTRADA infusion.
Serious infusion reactions: LEMTRADA can cause serious infusion reactions that may cause death. Serious infusion reactions may happen while you receive, or up to 24 hours or longer after you receive LEMTRADA.
You will receive your infusion at a healthcare facility with equipment and staff trained to manage infusion reactions, including serious allergic reactions, and urgent heart or breathing problems. You will be watched while you receive, and for 2 hours or longer after you receive, LEMTRADA. If a serious infusion reaction happens while you are receiving LEMTRADA, your infusion may be stopped.
Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms of a serious infusion reaction during the infusion, and after you have left the healthcare facility:
swelling in your mouth or throat
trouble breathing
fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
chest pain
To lower your chances of getting a serious infusion reaction, your healthcare provider will give you a medicine called corticosteroids before your first 3 infusions of a treatment course. You may also be given other medicines before or after the infusion to try to reduce your chances of having these reactions or to treat them after they happen.
Certain cancers: Receiving LEMTRADA may increase your chance of getting some kinds of cancers, including thyroid cancer, skin cancer (melanoma), and blood cancers called lymphoproliferative disorders and lymphoma. Call your healthcare provider if you have the following symptoms that may be a sign of thyroid cancer:
new lump
swelling in your neck
pain in front of neck
hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away
trouble swallowing or breathing
cough that is not caused by a cold
Have your skin checked before you start receiving LEMTRADA and each year while you are receiving treatment to monitor for symptoms of skin cancer.
Because of risks of autoimmunity, infusion reactions, and some kinds of cancers, LEMTRADA is only available through a restricted program called the LEMTRADA Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) Program.
Thyroid problems: Some patients taking LEMTRADA may get an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) or an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). Call your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms:
excessive sweating
unexplained weight loss
eye swelling
fast heartbeat
unexplained weight gain
feeling cold
worsening tiredness
Low blood counts (cytopenias): LEMTRADA may cause a decrease in some types of blood cells. Some people with these low blood counts have increased infections. Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of cytopenias such as:
chest pain
yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice)
dark urine
fast heartbeat
Serious infections: LEMTRADA may cause you to have a serious infection while you receive and after receiving a course of treatment. Serious infections may include:
Herpes viral infections. Some people taking LEMTRADA have an increased chance of getting herpes viral infections. Take any medicines as prescribed by your healthcare provider to reduce your chances of getting these infections.
Tuberculosis. Your healthcare provider should check you for tuberculosis before you receive LEMTRADA.
Hepatitis. People who are at high risk of, or are carriers of, hepatitis B (HBV) or hepatitis C (HCV) may be at risk of irreversible liver damage.
These are not all the possible infections that could happen while on LEMTRADA. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have symptoms of a serious infection such as fever or swollen glands. Talk to your healthcare provider before you get vaccinations after receiving LEMTRADA. Certain vaccinations may increase your chances of getting infections.
Swelling of lung tissue (pneumonitis): Some people have had swelling of the lung tissue while receiving LEMTRADA. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have the following symptoms:
shortness of breath
chest pain or tightness
coughing up blood
Before receiving LEMTRADA, tell your healthcare provider if you:
are taking a medicine called Campath® (alemtuzumab)
have bleeding, thyroid, or kidney problems
have HIV
have a recent history of infection
have received a live vaccine in the past 6 weeks before receiving LEMTRADA or plan to receive any live vaccines. Ask your healthcare provider if you are not sure if your vaccine is a live vaccine
are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. LEMTRADA may harm your unborn baby. You should use birth control while receiving LEMTRADA and for 4 months after your course of treatment
are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. You and your healthcare provider should decide if you should receive LEMTRADA or breastfeed. You should not do both.
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. LEMTRADA and other medicines may affect each other, causing side effects. Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take medicines that increase your chance of getting infections, including medicines used to treat cancer or to control your immune system.
The most common side effects of LEMTRADA include:
thyroid problems
swelling of your nose and throat
urinary tract infection
feeling tired
trouble sleeping
upper respiratory infection
herpes viral infection
fungal infection
joint pain
pain in your arms
or legs
back pain
sinus infection
mouth pain or sore throat
tingling sensation
stomach pain
sudden redness in face, neck, or chest
Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. These are not all the possible side effects of LEMTRADA.
You are encouraged to report side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA- 1088.
Please click here for full Prescribing Information, including serious side effects and Medication Guide, for additional Important Safety Information.
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GZUS.LEMT.15.07.1936 Last Update: July 2015