A new drug that treats multiple sclerosis is showing signs of slowing down the progress of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. No drugs currently exist to treat this disease.
This treatment would be able to help many people suffering from secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.
A new study shows that siponimod can reduce the risk of disabilities from becoming worse over time. In the study published in The Lancet, siponimod was given to 1,055 adults with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, and 545 were given a placebo. It was a double-blind study in which neither the patients or the doctors were aware of who was being given siponimod and who was being given the placebo.
Patients in the study were given the drug for up to 37 months. To track whether the drug was working, participants were examined every three months to check their level of disability. If the increase in disability persisted for more than three months, it was considered to be confirmed.
Researchers found that 32 percent of patients who were given the placebo experienced a progression in symptoms, while 26 percent of those given siponimod experienced progression. This reduced the risk of progression and helped these patients.
There were different changes for different groups, and there was no difference in both groups when asked to walk 25 feet. Brain scans of the participants showed that there was a slower rate of shrinkage in the group who took siponimod.
Ludwig Kappos, lead author of the study, said that the results were not as good as they wanted to see from siponimod.
Multiple sclerosis affects 400,000 people in the United States and about 2.5 million people worldwide. It can cause muscle weakness, tingling and burning sensations, numbness, chronic pain, coordination problems, fatigue, vision problems, and difficulty with bladder control.
Response To The Effects Of Siponimod
Scientists are suggesting that the minor changes to the progression of the disease were too small to show improvement under siponimod. Professor Alasdair Coles, a multiple sclerosis expert from the University of Cambridge, said that parts of the research such as the walking test were "rubbish," but that this could help spur more research into slowing down multiple sclerosis.
Coles added that the drug may not be cost-effective for the limited amount of progression that it would slow down. He said other drugs that could produce similar results for the brain shrinkage are available.
Coles said that these results could help treat those with high levels of inflammation.
Earlier this week, a potential new treatment using stem cells to fight multiple sclerosis was revealed.