New Drug to Treat Multiple Sclerosis Being Tested

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Multiple Sclerosis is an inflammatory disease which affects millions of people worldwide.

Just in time for Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, there’s a new drug the government may release soon that may help people live less painful lives.

“All of a sudden I was blind in one eye, total darkness with no apparent reason why,” said Stephen O’Malley of Westlake.

Back in 2002, O’Malley lost his sight in his right eye and after months of testing, he was diagnosed with MS.

O’Malley regained his sight after a few months of treatment but for years had to take painful daily injections to keep the disease from relapsing.

For five years, O’Malley has been part of a clinical trial at the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis at the Cleveland Clinic for the drug BG-12.

O’Malley said so far the pills are working. He no longer has to take painful injections or IVs.

“It’s like taking vitamins; you hardly notice that you are taking them and I mean I’m walking and I’m seeing, so I am winning if you ask me. BG-12 has given me a level of confidence that I’m not gonna have a relapse because I haven’t. The odds seem to be with me. Every day, I get up, I take the stuff and nothing seems to happen,” said O’Malley.

Multiple Sclerosis is an inflammatory disease where the immune sytsem gets confused and attacks the brain and the spinal cord in episodes over time.

“These episodes can cause a variety of symptoms including numbness, weakness, walking problems, blurry vision, double vision, bladder and bowel and sexual difficulty; also mood disruptions because anything, any function that is run by the brain and the spinal cord can be affected by MS,” said Dr. Robert Fox with the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Fox is a neurologist at the Mellen Center and says even though BG-12 is helping MS patients, unfortunately it’s not cure.

“One of the limitations of this therapy it’s not improving function but it is preventing further decline in the early stages of MS,” said Dr. Fox.

Doctors are hoping that the BG-12 treatment is approved by the FDA by the end of this month.

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