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Multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferers have been offered a convenient alternative to injected treatments with the launch of a new pill.
According to a trial published in The Lancet medical journal, laquinimod improves the condition of patients with the relapse-remitting form of MS with few side effects.
A daily dose of laquinimod was found to reduce signs of MS inflammation by 40.4%, comapared with a non-active placebo.
MS is an auto-immune disease which causes the destruction of myelin, the fatty insulation around nerve fibres. As a result, nerve messages become jumbled, leading to symptoms which can range from pins and needles to paralysis.
Available drugs for relapse-remitting MS include glatiramer acetate, interferon, natalizumab, and mitoxantrone.
But all these drug have to be injected, which can be inconvenient and may lead to patients not taking their medication.
Dr Laura Bell, from the MS Society, said: “People living with MS can be encouraged that there are now several oral therapies in late stage clinical trials.
“Having to regularly inject treatments is unpleasant and the sooner a safe and effective pill is made available, the better.
“We will be closely following the progress of this and other oral therapy trials, and look forward to further promising results.”
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