April 18, 2012

Pill Reduces MS Lesions

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- An oral drug called ONO-4641 is under investigation because it can reduce the number of lesions in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

The study involved 407 people between the ages of 18 and 55 who had relapsing-remitting MS.  They were given placebo randomly of .05mg, .10mg, or .15 mg of ONO-4641 once per day for 26 weeks.  Patients who had two or more relapses in the two years prior to the study, were included, along with those who had one or more relapses within the year prior to the study or one or more new MS brain lesions (known as Gd-enhancing lesions).  MRI's were performed every four weeks from 10 to 26 weeks.

By the end of the study those who took .05, .10, and .15 mg of ONO-4641 had 82 percent, 92 percent, and 77 percent fewer Gd-enhancing lesions compared to placebo.

Adverse events appeared to be dose related and included cardiovascular events, such as blood pressure changes, a slower heartbeat, and an AV block, which is the impairment of the conduction between the atria and ventricles of the heart. Other adverse events included liver enzyme elevations.

"In light of recent issues in the oral MS drug market, this is welcome news," study author Timothy Vollmer, M.D., of the University of Colorado in Denver and a Fellow with the American Academy of Neurology was quoted as saying.

SOURCE:  American Academy of Neurology, April 2012