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Ther Adv Chronic Dis. 2013 Jan;4(1):45-51. doi: 10.1177/2040622312466279.

Recent advances in treating multiple sclerosis: efficacy, risks and place in therapy.

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Director of the MS Center, Advance Neurology at Cornerstone Health Care, 152 Kinderton Way, Suite 101, Advance, NC 27006, USA.


The development of new pharmacologic agents for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) and advances in testing for exposure to the JC virus have led to changes in the treatment of MS. In addition several new agents are in late stage development for MS and their entry onto the market will provide additional treatment options. In 2012 and in early 2013, it is likely that both terifunomide and BG-12 will be approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS. The therapeutic environment has already changed and is likely to change rapidly over the next several years. Fingolimod was the first oral agent approved for the treatment of MS and this agent is now widely used in patients intolerant of injections and the side effects associated with the older platform therapies. In many settings it is also used a first-line agent. Owing to the risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, natalizumab had previously been reserved for patients with active disease who were intolerant of first-line agents or patients who were worsening despite standard therapy. With the availability of JC virus antibody testing, natalizumab is now being used as a first-line agent in patients negative for JC virus antibodies. Teriflunomide and BG-12 will become available in the next year. Both agents have suitable efficacy and a favorable safety and tolerability profile. There are advantages and disadvantages associated with all of the oral agents. In this article we summarize the clinical trial results regarding the efficacy and safety of the oral agents and discuss the changes that are already taking place in the therapeutic landscape for MS.


BG-12; JC virus; fingolimod; fumarate; multiple sclerosis; natalizumab; progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy; teriflunomide

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