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News from MSAA

March is MS Awareness Month

March 1, 2011

During MS Awareness Month, the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) invites the MS community to participate in a wide array of activities and events to help manage their MS.

Bridging the Communication Gap between Parents with MS and their Children

Please join MSAA for a new program focusing on helping parents and children build a better understanding of MS, develop peer connections, and strengthen the family.

MSAA Survey Reveals Surprising Results: Involuntary Crying and Laughing is Reported by More People With MS than Expected

March 1, 2011

MS can impact not only physical and cognitive abilities, but also a person's emotional wellbeing. In cooperation with the research organization Infogroup/ORC and supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Avanir Pharmaceuticals, the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) conducted an independent, online survey of almost 20,000 of its members in the fall of 2010. The purpose of this survey was to better understand the extent and impact of a particularly challenging neurological condition known to occur among people living with MS: pseudobulbar affect (PBA).

NEWS ALERT: Voluntary Recall of Potentially Contaminated Alcohol Prep Products Used with Injected Medications

January 10, 2011 - Updated: January 13, 2011

Triad Group, a Wisconsin-based manufacturing company, is voluntarily recalling all lots of their alcohol prep pads, alcohol swabs, and alcohol swabsticks manufactured under their name (Triad Group), or under third party names (Cardinal Health, PSS Select, VersaPro, Boca/ Ultilet, Moore Medical, Walgreens, CVS, and Conzellin). These lots of alcohol prep products have been recalled as a result of potential contamination with Bacillus cereus -- bacteria that could lead to life-threatening infections, particularly in those whose immune system is suppressed and for individuals undergoing surgery. As of January 5, 2011, Triad Group has received one report of a non-life-threatening skin infection.

FDA Extends the Review Period for Oral Cladribine

December 7, 2010

Cladribine is an investigational oral drug being studied for the long-term treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). It was submitted to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval earlier this year, receiving Fast Track status in July 2010. Fast Track status reduces the FDA's review time from 10 months down to six - and a decision was expected by November 28, 2010. However, the agency has extended the review time by three months, with a decision now anticipated by February 28, 2011.

FDA Approves Nuedexta to treat Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA)

Updated: December 3, 2010
Please note: The original article (shown in Part I) was posted to this website on November 2, 2010. More extensive information is now included in Part II of this article, added on December 3, 2010.

On October 29, 2010, Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced the approval of Nuedexta™ by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of pseudobulbar affect (PBA) associated with certain neurological conditions, including multiple sclerosis (MS). PBA is characterized by uncontrolled, inappropriate, and/or exaggerated episodes of crying, laughing, or other emotional display. PBA occurs involuntarily with little or no stimulation to invoke such a response. It can greatly impact social situations and overall quality of life, both for the patient and his or her family.

FDA Approves First Oral Treatment for Relapsing Forms of MS

Updated: September 23, 2010

A New Disease-Modifying Therapy for MS
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation announced today that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Gilenya® (fingolimod) as a first-line treatment for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Gilenya is the first oral disease-modifying therapy available for the long-term treatment of MS. The approval of a treatment that may be taken orally (by mouth), versus injection or infusion, is exciting news for members of the MS community.

FDA Committee Recommends the Approval of FTY720

June 16, 2010

The oral medication FTY720 (fingolimod) has moved another step closer to approval as a new disease-modifying therapy for MS. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee reviewed the clinical trial data submitted by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (makers of FTY720), and reported its findings at a meeting held on June 10, 2010.

Phase 2 CHOICE Study Reports Positive Effects with Daclizumab

May 11, 2010

Biogen Idec and Facet Biotech Corporation, developers of daclizumab, report that when added to an interferon regimen, this drug reduces the number of new or enlarged MS lesions in patients with active, relapsing forms of MS. Additionally, daclizumab showed an increase in the number of a certain type of cell that helps to regulate the immune system. These results were published in the online edition of The Lancet Neurology and in the April 2010 issue of The Lancet Neurology.

Continued Efficacy and Safety Seen with 15-Year Evaluation of Copaxone

May 11, 2010

In February 2010, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. announced the publication of their data from 15 years of prospective and continuous evaluation of Copaxone®. The 15-year study findings appeared in the February 2010 issue of the journal, Multiple Sclerosis. Given the positive results, this study has been extended to 20 years, and is presently in its 19th year. Copaxone is given via daily subcutaneous injections and is approved for individuals with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS).

Positive Study Results with Oral FTY720 Leads to Granting of Priority Review Status by FDA

May 11, 2010 - Updated: June 8, 2010

In January 2010, the results from two large Phase III trials with oral FTY720 (fingolimod) were published in The New England Journal of Medicine. According to a press release from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (makers of FTY720), the TRANSFORMS and FREEDOMS studies showed positive results in reducing relapses, disability progression, and MRI lesions when MS patients were given FTY720.

FDA Approves Botox® for Upper Extremity Spasticity

March 15, 2010

The United States' Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Botox® (onabotulinumtoxin A) for the treatment of spasticity in the flexor muscles of the elbow, wrist, and fingers in adults. Manufactured by Allergan, Inc., this drug is administered via injection by a medical professional and is available through prescription only.

March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month

March 9, 2010

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) encourages everyone to take time this March to learn about multiple sclerosis (MS) and discover all of the programs and services MSAA offers to everyone affected by MS.

In Memory of Jimmie Heuga (1943-2010)

February 12, 2010

Jimmie Heuga, founder of The Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis in Colorado, passed away on February 8, 2010. Renamed "Can Do Multiple Sclerosis," this center continues to carry on Heuga's philosophy and passion for teaching individuals with MS to live life to the fullest.

Ampyra™ Approved to Improve Walking for Individuals with MS

January 25, 2010

The United States' Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Ampyra™ (dalfampridine), an oral, timed-release medication developed to improve the conduction of impulses between damaged nerves of the central nervous system (CNS).

Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

December 11, 2009

Part I: Defining CCSVI and Its Possible Involvement with MS
A great deal of media attention has been given recently to the possible connection between chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) and multiple sclerosis (MS). CCSVI is a complex condition involving changes in blood flow from the brain back to the heart, which some researchers theorize could possibly lead to activation of the immune system, excess iron deposits, loss of myelin, and other nervous system damage.

Research News Fall 2009

November 18 , 2009

By Susan Wells Courtney; Reviewed by Dr. Jack Burks

Extavia Receives FDA Approval for Treatment of MS

In addition to the recent approval of Extavia, other drug updates include Fampridine-SR, oral cladribine, Copaxone, Tysabri, and fingolimod.

Multiple Sclerosis Association of America Honored for Excellence in Communications

A Grand APEX Award is given for MSAA's home page

October 1, 2009

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) received four communications awards, which included two APEX Awards and two National Health Information Awards for the following.

Flu Vaccines for the 2009/2010 Flu Season

September 28, 2009

Two flu vaccines, the seasonal flu and the H1N1 ("swine flu") vaccines, will be available for the 2009/2010 flu season. The seasonal flu vaccine protects individuals from three types of flu and is currently available. The H1N1 flu vaccine protects individuals from the newest type of flu, which was first detected in people living in the United States in April 2009. The H1N1 vaccine is expected to be available in early to mid-October 2009.

Extavia Receives FDA Approval for Treatment of MS

August 18, 2009

On August 14, 2009, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Extavia® (interferon beta-1b) for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS).

2009 MS Research Update

August 13, 2009

Based on the positive response to the "MS Research Updates" appearing in the Summer 2007 and 2008 issues of The Motivator, this article incorporates new information about the six approved disease-modifying therapies (DMTs), as well as experimental drugs currently being studied for the treatment of MS.

Dirucotide (MBP8298) Update

July 30, 2009

On July 27, 2009, Eli Lilly and BioMS Medical Corporation announced that dirucotide did not meet the primary endpoint of the MAESTRO-01 study, which was the delay of disease progression in secondary-progressive MS (SPMS) as measured by EDSS (Expanded Disability Status Scale).


MSAA's Interactive Video Series Wins Prestigious Business Award

June 30, 2009

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America's (MSAA) educational web video series, A Closer Look, recently won the highly acclaimed Stevie Award in the category of Interactive Multimedia/Public Information.

Spring 2009 Research Update

Oral Cladribine Meets Primary Endpoint in Phase III Trial

May 2009

Reviewed and information provided by Jack Burks, MD

Featuring information on oral cladribine, oral BG-12, and dirucotide.

March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month

Join the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America in supporting the MS community

March 12, 2009

During the month of March, the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is asking everyone to become more involved with the MS community. Please join us and find out how you can help.

Results Announced from the Phase II Study of Dirucotide (MBP8298) in RRMS Patients

February 3, 2009

Dirucotide, previously known as MBP8298, has been in clinical trials primarily for the treatment of secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS), but also for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).

Fall 2008 Research Update

World Congress on Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis

Written by Susan Wells Courtney
Reviewed and information provided by Jack Burks, MD

Featuring highlights from the 2008 World Congress on Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis.

Resource Detectives(SM) Program Marks One Year Anniversary

60,000 Resources Have Been Identified and More Are Still to be Discovered!

November 5, 2008

The Resource Detectives program, developed by the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA), provides a virtual volunteer opportunity for anyone interested in giving back to the community but unable to do so in the traditional sense of working on-site.

New Thinner Needle and New Autoinjector for Betaseron

October 17, 2008

A thinner needle will soon be available for individuals taking Betaseron® (interferon beta-1b) for the long-term treatment of MS. The thinner needle is being offered as a way to potentially help reduce the pain and anxiety often associated with injections.

Changes to Tysabri's Labeling

August 21 , 2008

Two changes have recently been made to the labeling and prescribing information for Tysabri® (natalizumab). Manufactured and marketed by Biogen Idec and Elan, Tysabri is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) as well as Crohn's disease.

Summer Research Update 2008

FDA-Approved Medications for the Treatment of MS

August 13, 2008

Numerous trials are currently being conducted to determine the safety and effectiveness of medications for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). Trials include FDA-approved drugs, experimental drugs (such as oral medications, monoclonal antibodies, and other treatments), as well as various combinations of drugs and doses.

Tysabri Update

Two New Cases of PML Reported in Patients Taking Tysabri

August 5, 2008

Two new cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), which is an often-fatal viral infection of the brain, have been reported in patients taking Tysabri® (natalizumab) for the long-term treatment of MS. These two cases were reported to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on July 31, 2008. These are the first cases to be reported since the drug's re-release in June 2006.

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America Awarded a Grant to Develop a Life Coaching Program

July 11, 2008

Through a generous charitable gift from the Bayer USA Foundation, the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) will develop a Life Coaching program for individuals in the multiple sclerosis (MS) community. This program will provide an innovative way for individuals with MS to interact with each other while developing critical problem-solving strategies. To help teach these skills, life coaches will use real life events to help find practical solutions to daily challenges individuals with MS may face. Life coaches will meet with clients through group sessions over the phone or online.

A Closer Look at MRIs

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America Produces a Web Video on the Importance of MRIs

June 5, 2008

A Closer Look at The Value of MRIs is now available through the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America’s (MSAA) website. This three part video features: a person with multiple sclerosis (MS) offering a first-hand account on the experience of undergoing an MRI; a neurologist explaining how MRIs work as well as the importance of MRIs to monitor disease progression; and an MSAA representative discussing the financial resources available through MSAA for those seeking their first or follow-up MRI.

Spring 2008 Research Update

May 19, 2008

A one-year study in Germany found that 1157 patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) who began and continued on Avonex® for one year, benefited from nursing support. They also experienced a modest improvement in quality of life during this treatment period, as measured through the EuroQol questionnaire (EQ-5D).

Multiple Sclerosis Association of America Observes March as Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month

March 6, 2008

Join the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) in raising awareness for multiple sclerosis (MS) during the month of March. MSAA will be hosting various events designed to expand knowledge, understanding, and support of individuals whose lives are affected by multiple sclerosis. MSAA will also join other MS organizations to call on Congress for increased federal funding for MS research.

MSAA Enhances Website With New Copy and Technology

November 27, 2007

Visitors to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) website, mymsaa.org, may have noticed some changes. Over the past few months, a new design was unveiled and various enhancements were made providing the multiple sclerosis (MS) community with the resources and tools they need at their finger tips.

MSAA's Public Service Announcement (PSA) Offers Information on the Importance of Disease-Modifying Therapies for MS

November 26, 2007

On November 25, 2007 MSAA began airing two public service announcements nationwide that encourage individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) to adhere to an MS treatment plan, including one of the FDA-approved disease-modifying therapies. MSAA’s Chief  Medical Officer Dr. Jack Burks recommends that individuals with MS consult their physician, and if appropriate, begin treatment as soon as possible. Below are some helpful links on MS medications, MS, and MSAA.

MS Coalition Honored at The Heuga Center's 22nd Annual Autumn Benefit

On Tuesday, October 23, 2007 the Multiple Sclerosis Coalition will be honored at The Heuga Center's Annual Autumn Benefit at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City. At the benefit, MSAA's President and CEO Doug Franklin will be accepting The Heuga Center's CAN DO award, on behalf of the Multiple Sclerosis Coalition. Doug Franklin will be accepting this honor as president of the MS Coalition, an affiliation of independent MS organizations dedicated to the enhancement of the quality of life for all those affected by multiple sclerosis.

MSAA Publishes A Booklet About Depression and MS

October 5, 2007

Understanding and Treating Depression in Multiple Sclerosis is the most recent publication produced by the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA).The booklet serves as a resource on depression for both patients and families affected by multiple sclerosis (MS). Author Allison Shadday, LCSW, who has MS, provides an in-depth understanding of depression in MS and  focuses on  such topics as the hidden symptoms of depression; warning signs; treatment options; and tips for fighting the effects of depression.

Summer 2007 Research Update

August 2007

Numerous trials are currently being conducted to determine the safety and effectiveness of medications for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). Trials include FDA-approved drugs, experimental drugs (such as oral medications, monoclonal antibodies, and other treatments), as well as various combinations of drugs and doses.

Help MSAA by Shopping At MACY's

Support MSAA through Macy's "Shop For A Cause"

August 10, 2007

Make a gift of $5 or more to MSAA before October 1, and earn a special savings pass that gives you 20 percent off all purchases at Macy's on Saturday, October 13. MSAA is among the charities participating in "Shop For A Cause," a Macy's event that rewards donors who make a $5 gift or more with a discount card that can be used all day on regular, sale, and clearance items.

Multiple Sclerosis Association of America Receives A Telly Award

August 1, 2007

The Silver Telly was awarded to MSAA and VCS, a video production company located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, for the web video "A Closer Look At Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms, Part 1." This video is the first in a series titled "A Closer Look," which is part of MSAA's Multiple Sclerosis Information (MSi) Program. The MSi Program provides viewers with an extensive resource guide on multiple sclerosis (MS) and helps clients acquire the support they need while coping with the challenges of MS.

Multiple Sclerosis Association of America Wins Two APEX Awards

August 1, 2007

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) was honored twice in the 2007 APEX Awards competition. Mommy's Story, MSAA's children's booklet, received the APEX Grand Award for One-of-a-Kind Publication. MSAA also earned a Publication Excellence Award for their quarterly magazine, The Motivator. This was the first time MSAA entered the APEX Award competition.

EMD Serono Offers a New Patient Assistance Program for Rebif®

July 2, 2007

As a way to expand access to therapy, a new patient assistance program titled MS LifeLines® Access Made Simple was launched on July 2, 2007 by EMD Serono. According to EMD Serono, "The program provides simplified and affordable access to therapy for people with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) who have either been newly prescribed Rebif (interferon beta-1a) by their physician or who have restarted Rebif therapy after having discontinued for more than 90 days." All eligible patients will receive a supply of Rebif up to one year, regardless of income, with no more than a $50 co-payment. After one year, patients who are still unable to obtain full insurance coverage for Rebif can apply to the MS LifeLines Patient Assistance Program (PAP), which provides financial support to people who cannot otherwise afford therapy.

Multiple Sclerosis Association of America Debuts MSi Program

June 26, 2007

A new web video initiative titled MSi (Multiple Sclerosis Information) has been launched by the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA). Targeted to individuals with MS, the video series A Closer Look can be accessed on MSAA’s website. The first video, A Closer Look at Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms – Part 1, is divided into four segments: Effective MS Symptom Management featuring Jack Burks, MD; Understanding Depression and MS featuring Allison Shadday, LCSW; Learning about Involuntary Emotional Expression Disorder featuring Daniel Wynn, MD; and Managing Spasticity featuring Donald Barone, DO.

Primary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis Update

March 30, 2007

Please Note: This article appeared in the Research News section of the Winter/Spring 2007 issue of MSAA's quarterly magazine, The Motivator .

The Less Talked-About Form of MS

Historically, primary-progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) has seemingly taken a back seat to other types of multiple sclerosis (MS). By far, the largest amount of information published about research and treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS) has been in reference to relapsing-remitting and secondary-progressive forms of MS (RRMS and SPMS respectively).

Multiple Sclerosis Association of America Night at the Philadelphia Phantoms

Experience the excitement, the energy, and the enthusiasm of a Phantoms game!

Multiple Sclerosis Association of America Night at the Philadelphia Phantoms

Please join MSAA and the Philadelphia Phantoms in support of MSAA programs and services on Sunday, April 3, 2005 at 6pm at the Wachovia Spectrum as the Phantoms take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Voluntary Suspension of Tysabri ® for Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

March 3, 2005

On February 28, 2005, Biogen Idec and Elan Pharmaceuticals announced a voluntary suspension in the marketing of Tysabri®. Commercialization is suspended and physicians are asked to suspend dosing of Tysabri immediately.

Multiple Sclerosis Association of America Adds Regional Office In San Francisco, California

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) has expanded its regional offices from five to six with the addition of the Western Regional Office. The Western Region is headquartered in San Francisco, California and under the direction of Amanda Montague (pronounced Mon-taig´) . The region encompasses California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah. Along with the addition of the Western Region, MSAA also re-aligned its other five regional offices to provide each state with a regional office.

FDA Approves Tysabri® (formerly Antegren) For The Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

November 24, 2004

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Tysabri® (natalizumab), formerly known as Antegren®, for the treatment of relapsing-remitting forms of multiple sclerosis (RRMS).

FDA Decision on Antegren Expected Soon

November 11, 2004

On or before November 25, 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to announce its decision about whether or not Antegren® (natalizumab) will be approved as a treatment for multiple sclerosis. Six months ago, the makers of Antegren (Biogen Idec and Elan Corporation), submitted an application to the FDA for early approval of this drug for MS. The application was submitted one year sooner than planned. The decision came after the manufacturers reviewed the one-year data from the two ongoing, two-year phase III trials.

Medicare Modernization Act

Applications Due August 16 and September 30, 2004

As part of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, Medicare will extend coverage to prescription medications used to treat multiple sclerosis as well as other serious conditions including cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and pulmonary hypertension. The demonstration project gives Medicare beneficiaries a preview of the significant savings scheduled for January 2006 when the Part D prescription drug benefit is fully implemented.

Antegren Submitted One Year Early for FDA Approval ....

The makers of Antegren® (Biogen Idec and Elan Corporation) announced they are going to be submitting an application for approval of Antegren (natalizumab) as a treatment for multiple sclerosis to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) one year earlier than planned. They expect to submit the filing mid-year 2004. The decision came after reviewing the one-year data from the two ongoing two-year phase III trials. The companies did not disclose the one-year data to protect the integrity of the trial.

MSAA Names Verizon Communications Executive Joseph R. King Chair of the Board of Directors

Joseph R. King, Director of External Affairs for Verizon Communications, Inc. was recently appointed chair of the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America's (MSAA) Board of Directors effective June 4, 2004.

Oral Cladribine Efficacy Trials Slated to Begin This Year

Recently, Serono (makers of Rebif) and Ivax Corporation announced their test results from two clinical trials with a new oral formulation of cladribine. The study results showed that the formulation of oral cladribine has met the targets for an orally administered product, with blood levels of cladribine reaching the desired levels. Cladribine inhibits immune reactions by disrupting the production of certain white blood cells, particularly lymphocytes, which are involved in the disease process of multiple sclerosis. Investigators are planning further efficacy studies of oral cladribine in MS patients for late 2004.

More Patents and Trials Continue with MBP8298

Pharmaceutical Companies Latest Drug RepoMore Patents and Trials Continue with MBP8298

BioMS Medical, based in Edmonton, Alberta, has recently received 17 additional patents for MBP8298 in conjunction with the University of Alberta. In total, 50 patents have been granted to the University of Alberta for MBP8298 in 29 countries worldwide, including three patents issued in the United States. MBP8298 stands for Myelin Basic Protein Peptide and is comprised of 17 amino acids. The drug, which has been in research for 26 years, is going to phase III of clinical trials, with successful results in the pre-clinical, phase I and phase II human clinical trials in Canada.

Multiple Sclerosis Association of America Presents "The Questions You Have, The Answers You Need"

February 18, 2005

On Saturday, March 5, 2005, from 10 am-3:30 pm, MSAA is presenting a day long program at the Renaissance Austin Hotel. The program will be in a small group format and will feature Director of the MS Clinic of Central Texas, Edward Fox, M.D., PhD; an expert physical therapist; MS nurse practitioner; and a resource specialist to address YOUR questions and concerns about MS.

Flu Vaccines, MS, and General Flu and Cold Information

October 25, 2004

Individuals with MS need to pay extra attention to staying healthy and avoiding illness during the flu and cold season. MSAA's Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Jack Burks, MD, advises everyone with MS to consult his or her physician about getting a flu shot. With the shortage of vaccines, individuals with MS qualify as a group which should get priority for receiving a flu shot. Other steps may be taken to reduce one's risk of getting the flu, and this is important for both individuals with MS and others in the household. For those who catch the flu virus or who get a cold, this writing explains how the viruses are transmitted, what the symptoms are, and what treatments are available. Additional warnings about supplements, antibiotics, saunas, and smoking are included.

Upcoming MSAA Health Fairs

MSAA is crossing the United States bringing specialized MS Health Fairs to targeted areas. The Health Fairs are funded by a grant from Serno, Inc./ Pfizer, Inc.

Pharmaceutical Companies Latest Drug Reports

The 19th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) was held in Milan, Italy in September. This prompted pharmaceutical companies to send out press releases with the latest information on their drugs and studies with MS.

MS Blood Test Studied

MS has always been associated with a variety of symptoms that may occur unpredictably and mimic other conditions. In most cases, patients “present” to the neurologist after their first flare-up of neurological symptoms, which is labeled as a “clinically isolated syndrome.”

CAMPATH® Shows Promise in the Treatment of MS

Results of several pilot studies with the drug Campath (alemtuzumab) were presented at the annual American Academy of Neurology (AAN) meeting in Honolulu on April 1, 2003.

Pregnancy Hormone Estriol May Help MS

For many years, the medical community has observed that a woman’s MS may be less severe during pregnancy. A pregnancy hormone named estriol is produced by the placenta and may cause this remission in symptoms.

Positive Results from Antegren® Trial Published

Last year’s Winter 2002 issue of The Motivator included the encouraging results of a six-month study investigating the effects of the monoclonal antibody natalizumab (Antegren) in 213 individuals with relapsing-remitting and secondary-progressive MS.

Vaccination Safety

October 2012

Recent studies continue to affirm the safety of vaccinations for people with MS. An evaluation of several reports and trial outcomes by the US Penitentiary Health Services Unit in Terre Haute, IN, concluded that the hepatitis B (HB), influenza, and tetanus vaccines do not increase the risk of developing MS or exacerbating its symptoms.

Limited Baclofen Availability

A shortage of the drug baclofen (Lioresal®), in its oral tablet form, has been reported by Magee Rehabilitation of the Jefferson Health System. Many individuals with MS or other neurologic conditions depend on baclofen to treat spasticity.

Provigil® Among Recommendations in Treatment of MS Fatigue

A Working Group of neurologists has recommended the wake-promoting agent Provigil® (generic name: modafinil), as the first line of treatment for moderate to severe MS fatigue. Provigil was initially approved in the US in 1998 for the treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness and narcolepsy.

Drug Injections for MS Become More Convenient

Betaseron® is now available in the US in a new “room-temperature” formula. Given via subcutaneous injection every other day for the long-term treatment of relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), Betaseron previously needed to be refrigerated – making travel difficult for people using this medication.

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