UC Davis investigators find dextromethorphan improves symptoms in animal models
(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — A drug widely used in over-the-counter cough medicines appears to protect against symptoms of multiple sclerosis, a finding that could offer a new and therapy for a condition with few effective treatment options, a study by UC Davis researchers has found.
In tests using animal models, the drug, dextromethorphan, was found to significantly reduce the loss of the fatty sheath (or myelin) surrounding nerve fibers in the central nervous system and to minimize the development of paralysis during multiple sclerosis attacks.
The study is available online in the journal Neurobiology of Disease.
“This finding provides an exciting opportunity to better understand the disease and to pursue a new treatment strategy with a drug that is widely available, inexpensive and known to be safe,” said Wenbin Deng, principal investigator of the study and assistant professor of cell biology and human at UC Davis.
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