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Relapse rates in multiple sclerosis patients have been cut significantly by a once-a-day pill, according to a study by Novartis.
A two-year trial indicated that the pill Gilenia cut the rate of relapse by 62% in patients who had not been treated before, compared with trial participants who were given a placebo. MS patients who had previously been receiving treatment had their annual relapse rate cut by 44%, according to Switzerland-based corporation Novartis.
The findings, which were presented to the American Academy of Neurology, also indicated that Gilenia delayed the progression of disability by 30%, compared with those receiving placebos, after two years. The drug also apparently reduced the number of brain lesions from MRI, compared with those who took interferon beta-1a but had then switched to Gilenia.
MS affects people differently: some people are left permanently disabled by the condition, while others can experience only mild symptoms.
People with MS can experience numbness in their body; tingling or pain; a sensation of electric shock if the head is moved a certain way; weakness in limbs; partial or complete sight loss; unsteady walking and tremors.
Copyright Press Association 2010
American Academy of Neurology