Multiple Sclerosis Update

The COVID-19 pandemic is the elephant in the room for MS patients.

Does their disease or their treatment make them more likely to be infected or to have a more severe or even a fatal course? Only older age, obesity and more severe disability are independent risk factors which also apply to all chronic diseases. MS patients should continue their treatment, wear masks, and maintain social distancing.

The hippo in the room is the COVID vaccine. If you are an anti-vaxxer, do not stop reading. All MS patients, no matter which medication they are taking, should be vaccinated. For details, check the NMSS website.

Some disappointing news about neuroprotection and remyelination in MS. Development of opicinumab, the anti-LINGO-1 monoclonal antibody, has ended because of negative results from the recent “pivotal” trial.

Another neuroprotective trial of three currently available oral medications (amiloride, fluoxetine and riluzole) showed no benefit but confirmed that future similar trials can be done relatively quickly and cheaply.

On a positive note, a new class of oral medications, BTK inhibitors, has shown promise in progressive MS trials.

Adapted from Lancet Neurology January 2021.

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