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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Alemtuzumab May Be Superior to Interferon Beta-1a in Patients With MS—Results From the CARE-MS II Study



Patients who received alemtuzumab had lower relapse rates, reduced disability, and decreased brain-volume loss, compared with patients who received interferon beta-1a.
2012;20(6):6-7.
NEW ORLEANS—Compared with interferon beta-1a, alemtuzumab reduced the annualized relapse rate by 49% among patients with relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) who had relapsed on previous therapy, according to research presented at the 64th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology. Approximately 65% of patients taking alemtuzumab were relapse-free, compared with 47% of patients taking interferon beta-1a, per results from the phase III Comparison of Alemtuzumab and Rebif Efficacy in Multiple Sclerosis II (CARE-MS II) study.

In addition, patients with relapsing–remitting MS taking alemtuzumab had a 12.7% risk of sustained accumulation of disability, while patients taking interferon had a 21% risk, said Jeffrey A. Cohen, MD, Director of Experimental Therapeutics at the Cleveland Clinic Mellen MS Center. This reduction represents a hazard ratio of 0.58, or 42% treatment effect, he noted.

During a two-year period, the average Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score decreased by 0.17 steps among patients taking alemtuzumab, compared with an increase of 0.24 steps among patients taking interferon. The net difference of 0.41 EDSS steps between the two groups after two years was statistically significant, said Dr. Cohen, as were the differences between each group’s scores at baseline and at 12 months.


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Fatty Acids in Brain May Help Multiple Sclerosis Patients



June 6, 2012
Fatty acids that occur naturally in the brain may reduce inflammation associated with multiple sclerosis, a Stanford University study suggests, a finding that may lead to a new approach to treat the disease.
Researchers showed that injecting high doses of the fatty acids, or lipids, into paralyzed mice with MS symptoms reduced inflammation in their brains and allowed them to regain movement within 24 to 36 hours, said Lawrence Steinman, an author of the paper published today in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Multiple sclerosis is caused by an abnormal immune response that attacks the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The assault stops nerve cells from sending signals, sapping patients’ energy, blurring their vision and slowly robbing them of mobility, balance and coordination. Today’s findings hold promise as a new way to safeguard vulnerable nerves in MS patients, Steinman said.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

MS sufferer finds Korean physiotherapy has helped control her condition


Jun 5 2012 By Clare Johnston

JUST months ago, multiple sclerosis sufferer Jacqueline Bambrick dared not go out without a walking stick for fear she would fall and hurt herself.
But within a few weeks of trying a unique new physiotherapy treatment she has all but thrown her stick away.
The 53-year-old foster carer from Kelso, who also has three grown-up children of her own, was diagnosed with the debilitating condition four years ago.
She said: “About 12 years ago I had a period of lost sensation and I went to the doctor and she sent me to a neurosurgeon.
“As there was only one episode at that time they didn’t take it any further. Then a few years ago I again had some loss of sensation in my leg and it was like a stroke when someone’s dragging their leg along as they walk.
“I was referred to a neurologist again. I went for tests and it was after that the consultant told me they thought it was MS.”


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MS Patients' Stumbles Tied to Vision Loss



SAN DIEGO -- Vision loss, especially in low light, may contribute to problems with walking in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, a researcher said here.
Lower visual acuity in low-contrast situations among MS patients was significantly associated with poorer performance on a gait test in a controlled trial, said Rachel Tripoli, a medical student at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla.
Moreover, many of the MS patients showed improvements when they wore contrast-enhancing yellow lenses, she said -- a simple and practical solution to a problem that diminishes quality of life and can cause physical injury.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Avanir Pharmaceuticals Announces Patient Assistance Program For NUEDEXTA



ALISO VIEJO, Calif., June 5, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced details of its Patient Assistance Program for NUEDEXTA® (dextromethorphan HBr and quinidine sulfate). The Patient Assistance Program is designed to help patients with a diagnosis of pseudobulbar affect which meet established program criteria gain access to NUEDEXTA free of charge.
"NUEDEXTA is the first and only FDA approved medication indicated for pseudobulbar affect. Avanir's goal is to ensure that cost is not a barrier to any person who may benefit from this important medication, regardless of their level of income or healthcare coverage," said Rohan Palekar, chief commercial officer at Avanir Pharmaceuticals. "To that end, we are pleased to offer this new Patient Assistance Program as part of our comprehensive offering of patient support services."
This new program complements two other existing financial assistance programs currently available for patients insured by commercial health plans or Medicare Part D. With the addition of the Patient Assistance Program for patients without prescription drug coverage, Avanir now offers financial assistance for most people needing access to NUEDEXTA.
The new program, which launched in May 2012, provides eligible patients with a 6-month supply of drug, free of charge to help ensure access to NUEDEXTA. Program participants may qualify for ongoing assistance subject to periodic verification of eligibility.

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Monday, June 4, 2012

MS Patients' Risk Tolerance May Change in a Year


By John Gever, Senior Editor, MedPage Today
Published: June 03, 2012
Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco and Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN, Nurse Planner
SAN DIEGO -- Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients reported that they may change their minds about the acceptability of risk associated with disease-modifying therapies in as little as 1 year, a researcher said here.
More than 20% of MS patients queried about their tolerance of treatment-associated risk gave substantially different answers than they did in an identical survey a year earlier, said Sneha Ramesh, PhD, of the Cleveland Clinic.
The findings suggest that MS patients on treatments that pose serious risks, such as natalizumab (Tysabri), which has been linked to a life-threatening form of brain inflammation, should have regular discussions with clinicians about whether treatment risks continue to be acceptable.
Ramesh presented the survey results in a poster session at the joint meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers and the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis.
The new findings were from a follow-up to a survey of risk tolerance reported last year by the same researchers.



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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hand Function Often Overlooked in MS Work-Up




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