SSM Health Medical Minute: New alternative to treating MS

Traditionally a cancer drug, Lemtrada has been used to treat leukemia and lymphoma. But recently has been found to be effective in treating patients with multiple sclerosis. The FDA approved Lemtrada for MS patients about two and half years ago, but now patients who have used the drug for months are commenting on its effectiveness.

Tracy Williams, director of pharmacy at SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital in Lake St. Louis says Lemtrada should be reserved for patients who have had an inadequate response to two or more other MS drugs. It targets cells that are thought to cause MS and removes them. Lemtrada is not a cure, but it is promising for patients that have relapsing forms of MS.

Lemtrada is administered as two annual treatment courses, with the first treatment course administered via intravenous infusion on five consecutive days, and the second course administered on three consecutive days, twelve months later.

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