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Fingolimod Slows Progress of Multiple Sclerosis

Last Updated: July 05, 2012.

For patients with remitting-relapsing multiple sclerosis, fingolimod correlates with reduced inflammatory activity, tissue damage, and brain volume loss, as indicated by measures on magnetic resonance imaging over a two-year period, according to a study published online July 2 in the Archives of Neurology.

THURSDAY, July 5 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with remitting-relapsing multiple sclerosis, fingolimod correlates with reduced inflammatory activity, tissue damage, and brain volume loss, as indicated by measures on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) over a two-year period, according to a study published online July 2 in the Archives of Neurology.

Ernst-Wilhelm Radue, M.D., from University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland, and colleagues conducted an international multicenter study involving 1,272 patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis to assess the effect of fingolimod treatment on MRI measures of inflammatory activity and tissue damage. Participants were randomly allocated to receive once-daily 0.5 or 1.25 mg fingolimod or placebo for two years. MRI scans were obtained at baseline and at six, 12, and 24 months.

After six, 12, and 24 months of therapy, the researchers found that there were rapid and sustained reductions in inflammatory lesion activity, as measured by gadolinium-enhancing and new/newly enlarged T2 lesions. Fingolimod therapy also resulted in significant and favorable changes in T2 hyperintense and T1 hypointense lesion volume. Compared with placebo, 0.5 mg fingolimod correlated with a significant decrease in brain volume loss during months zero to six, zero to 12, 12 to 24, and zero to 24. These effects were independent of the presence/absence of gadolinium-enhancing lesions, T2 lesion load, previous treatment status, or disability level.

"These results, coupled with the significant reductions in relapse rates and disability progression reported previously, support the positive impact on long-term disease evolution," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Novartis Pharma, which funded the study and manufactures fingolimod.

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