Taking Daclizumab for Multiple Sclerosis

The drug daclizumab is known as a drug that manufactured to treat patients that suffer from multiple sclerosis. The drug, in combination with other treatments, has been proven to lower the body’s natural immunity in patients who receive kidney transplants. It is, in the eyes of MS sufferers, one of the most promising drugs to hit the market for this specific disease in years and patients and researchers alike are anxiously awaiting all of the data that is coming in. Daclizumab for multiple sclerosisis part of a class of medicine referred to as immunosuppressive agent, preventing white blood cells from getting rid of the newly transplanted kidney. It is also worth noting that daclizumab may reduce the body’s ability to fight infections.

As with any drug, there are side effects associated with taking daclizumab. The most common side effects of daclizumab use include fever, sore throat, coughing, congestion, pain and swelling of the skin and difficulty in urinating. Additionally, for patients taking daclizumab there may be an increased risk of developing particular types of cancer, like lymphoma. In some cases, there are adverse reactions because of an allergy to it. Before taking this drug, patients are to consult with their physician to determine the best treatment options.

Daclizumab is currently one of several drugs going through trial phase, specifically for multiple sclerosis. The drug is taken by injection or intravenous infusion and is also known by the name Zenepax. Phase III of the trial on this drug began in August of 2011. Daclizumab specifically blocks the activity of interleukin 2 and interfere with the growth of lymphocytes. Further studies have also concluded that daclizumab expands the activity of natural killer cells. Information regarding trials of this drug have yielded interesting, promising results.

In some clinical studies, analysis from reports show that disability scores improved in 60% of patients and worsened in 40% of those involved in the study. Daclizumab for multiple sclerosis also showed promise in treating people who had failed to respond to beta interferon or glatiramer acetate. Another study, called the CHOICE trial, investigated the effects of combining interferon beta treatment with daclizumab in people who had experienced a relapse of their multiple sclerosis. In this trial, daclizumab was administered every two or four weeks over the course of 24 weeks and participants were analyzed for 48 weeks. The MIR scans that were conducted before, during, and after treatment were used to monitor the appearance of new lesions. The findings showed a 72% reduction in active lesions and a 35% reduction in active lesions when a low dosage of daclizumab was given. In general, the usage of daclizumab was well tolerated by the groups.

An alternate trial, called the SELECT trial studied 600 patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis. In this study, there were two dose levels, administered every for weeks as a subcutaneous injection at 150mg and 300mg. The results from this study showed that daclizumab for multiple sclerosisreduced the relapse rate by over 54% in the 150mg group and 50% in the 300mg group. However, the group treated with daclizumab experienced more incidences of serious infection, serious cutaneous events and liver function abnormalities in comparison to the placebo group.

There are currently ongoing trials for MS patients with some of the results expected back by the end of 2012. According to the FDA, the drug has been fast-tracked for approval as it clearly shows to be beneficial and provides a lasting effect through validated biomarker of underlying MS disease mechanism. The hope is that this drug will result in slowing the effects of MS symptoms for the hundreds of thousands of sufferers of this disease. In the coming years, everyone will know the effectiveness of the drug when it becomes available to the general public.


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