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Thursday

 

MS researchers spruik 'new era' of treatment























Advances in the treatment of multiple sclerosis had largely been beneficial to patients, a new report has found, but it came with a warning about the need to carefully monitor side-effects.

Gold Coast-based Griffith University professor Simon Broadley was among 24 co-authors of a new report in the Medical Journal of Australia, published on Monday, which trumpeted a "new era in the treatment of multiple sclerosis".

Professor Broadley and his fellow authors said while a cure for MS remained "elusive", the advancements in treatment had generally been good news for patients.

The authors said there was the potential to reduce inflammatory disease activity and minimise the progression of the disease.

But they said most of the newer, more effective therapies were "associated with risks and practical problems that necessitate an active management strategy and continuous vigilance".

"All current treatment for MS have some minor side effects and several of the more potent agents are associated with specific risks that need to be managed," they wrote.

"It is important to remain vigilant to potential late complications with some of the newer therapies."

The researchers, from across Australia and New Zealand, identified three particular problems with MS treatments.

They were:
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or an inflammation of the "white matter" of the brain, which had been extensively documented in MS patients being treated with natalizumab;
Autoimmune disease between one and five years of commencing treatment with alemtuzummab; and
Lymphopenia and deranged liver function tests in almost all available therapies.

"We must weigh the pros and cons of the route and frequency of administration, together with the perceived potential benefits and risks for the individual patient," the authors wrote.

"General practitioners and specialist physicians need to be aware of the potential complications and specific features of MS therapies, particularly in rural and remote settings where rapid access to specialise neurological services may not be available."

There was also a warning for MS patients who wanted to fall pregnant.

"It is recommended that all MS therapies be withdrawn in women planning to become pregnant," the authors wrote.

"There is, however, a risk that disease activity may re-emerge, particularly if there are delays in conceiving.

"This leads to difficult decisions about whether treatment should continue until it has been confirmed that the woman is pregnant, and whether therapy should be discontinued during pregnancy itself."

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by BRISBANETIMES
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length


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