A new drug slows the progression of multiple sclerosis

News 16 August, 2017
    Louise Patenaude, a woman of 70 years, achieving the multiple sclerosis since the age of 49 years, is testing a new drug recently approved by Health Canada.

    QMI agency

    Tuesday, 15 August 2017 22:13

    Tuesday, 15 August 2017 22:18

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    Good news for the thousands of people affected by multiple sclerosis: Health Canada has approved a drug that greatly reduces the outbreaks of the disease.

    “I couldn’t stand on my two legs. My hands no longer worked. I had the misery to speak,” said Louise Patenaude, suffering from multiple sclerosis since the age of 49 years. She is now 70.

    The new medication just approved by Health Canada is raising a lot of hope for the 20,000 Quebecers and the 100,000 Canadians affected by the disease.

    “It is a drug that can reduce a lot the activity of the disease. Therefore, it decreases the number of relapses that patients will make in a year, the number of symptoms, the duration of symptoms. It is a drug that also lowers the long-term disability,” said neurologist and researcher at the CHUM Alexandre Prat.

    A quarantine of patients in Quebec have participated in the clinical studies. The imaging medical tests show a reduction of the lesions. For the moment, it is only available to people affected by relapsing-remitting disease.

    “In remission, the symptoms disappear. Most of the time, these patients-there are patients who walk in the street or people you know. You may not even realize that they have multiple sclerosis, except when they make a push,” added Dr. Prat.

    “This same treatment-there, elsewhere in the world, has been approved for the form of MS primary progressive. And this is a great novelty, which will create a lot of hope,” said Louis Adam, executive director of the multiple Sclerosis section of Quebec.

    Ms. Patenaude suffers from the progressive form and is afraid of the side effects. “The more they find new medications, the better they are. Because, first, it didn’t work at all,” she said.

    “It is a medicine that is given only twice a year, intravenous. It is one of the big advantages of the drug. Patients do not need to take any pills or to submit each month to make injections,” said Dr. Prat.

    We don’t know how much it will cost the medication or when the manufacturer, Roche Canada, shall file an application, so that it is reimbursed by the public prescription drug insurance plan of Quebec.