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F.D.A. Approves First Drug to Treat Severe Multiple Sclerosis

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On 28th March 2017, Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A), the federal agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services approved the first drug to treat Severe Multiple Sclerosis. This approval came as a ray of hope for all such patients who so far did not have any approved drug for treatment.

  • The drug called Ocrevus will be sold by Genentech Company owned by the Swiss pharmaceutical major Roche.F.D.A. Approves First Drug to Treat Severe Multiple Sclerosis

What is Severe Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects an individual’s central nervous system – spinal cord, brain and optic nerves. Muscle weakness, fatigue, vision problems, dizziness and memory problems are some of the symptoms of this disease. Women are more prone to MS as compared to men.

  • There are two forms of MS. Most common one is the relapsing form, in which a patient experiences recovery followed by a relapse on constant basis.
  • Other form which affects about 10-15% MS patients is the Primary progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS). The condition of patient affected by PPMS deteriorates over the passage of time without any recovery.
  • This form is popularly referred to as Severe Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Drug Ocrevus has got F.D.A approval to be used for treatment of both these forms of MS.

All about drug Ocrevus:

Functioning: Ocrevus is to be administered every six months. It depletes a certain class of immune cells (B Cells). These cells in blood are part of immune system but sometimes they malfunction and contribute to damaging central nervous system in MS patients.

Pricing: $65000 a year

Clinical Trials: Usage of Ocrevus brought encouraging results in patients having relapsing MS, wherein progression of disease was halted by almost 50%. In patients with Severe Multiple Sclerosis deterioration was halted only marginally. However medical experts regard this as an important beginning.

Side effects: During clinical trials, usage of Ocrevus resulted in minor side effects viz. reactions at the injection site, upper respiratory infections and cold sores. However more information about side effects will be available only after large number of patients starts using it.

Quick facts about Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.):

F.D.A is United States Govt.’s agency entrusted with the task to protect and promote public health through supervision and control of Food, Drug and Cosmetic industry. It also serves as a data centre for providing well-researched health information to general public.

  • Formation Year: 1906
  • Headquarters: State of Maryland, US
  • Current Commissioner: Robert Califf