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Fingolimod (Gilenya) not effective in primary progressive MS

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Author: MS Trust

Fingolimod (Gilenya) was no better than placebo at reducing measures of progression in people with primary progressive MS according to information announced today.

The INFORMS trial was the largest study so far in primary progressive MS. 970 people in 18 countries were treated with fingolimod or placebo for three years and different aspects of disability were regularly measured. A press release from Novartis, who manufacture fingolimod and ran the trials, says that there was no difference in the risk of progression between the treatment and placebo groups. More detailed results of the study will be presented at a scientific conference.

Fingolimod is already available as a treatment for people with relapsing remitting MS. INFORMS was prompted by evidence that suggested that the way the drug works might also benefit people with progressive MS.

There has been an increasing focus of research on progressive forms of MS in recent years. In 2012 an international group of MS organisations and researchers set up the Progressive MS Alliance encourage and promote research. Studies are now underway following the awarding of the first grants in the summer.

Amy Bowen, the MS Trust's Director of Service Development said,

"It is disappointing that the INFORMS trial has not produced a positive result. Finding a treatment that is going to change the course of progressive MS is a huge challenge. The MS Trust supports the work of the Progressive MS Alliance and the international commitment to find new treatments for progressive MS."

Although there are currently no disease modifying drugs for people with progressive MS, there is support for managing symptoms and with rehabilitation approaches.

Amy Bowen added,

"People living with MS of all types need access to support and specialist care right now and the MS Trust is committed to ensuring that there are enough trained specialist nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and neurologists across the UK so that everyone with MS gets the high quality expert care they need."

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