Wednesday, September 22, 2010

When Life Sends You Lemons . . .

Mollie writes:

I heard from my sister-in-law today that the FDA has approved gilenya (generic name: fingolimod) for the treatment of relapsing MS.  What is so special to me is that this is the first oral treatment for patients with MS that reduces the number of exacerbations a patient experiences over time.

Specifically, it is noted that on average, there is a 52% reduction in flare-ups at one year in comparison with interferon.    Frequently drugs are approved with numbers like 10-20% (superior but not THAT superior).  Technically, a drug just has to prove noninferiority but the FDA these days prefers some superiority.

I hope that it hits the shelf soon.  I am soooooo tired of giving myself shots three times a week, which is usually followed up with flu-like symptoms and insomnia.  I also show a site reaction to each shot, a red welt that looks so lovely on my legs, tummy and buttocks.  

I will be soooooo ready to change my therapy.  My interferon runs approximately $3500.00 a month (covered by insurance), so I'm hoping that, even if it's a formulary drug, it will still be less expensive than interferon. But we'll have to take a wait and see attitude.  

This drug has some side effects, including elevated liver enzymes, which has been a problem for me in the past.  But I am willing to take a risk, monitored by my neurologist of course, that this particular drug won't be a problem.

Meanwhile, I spent a little time on-line, trading my Biogen stock for Novartis stock.  When God sends you MS, buy stock in the latest treatment.  Even if I doesn't work for me, I'm betting with my own money that it will work for most of us with MS.  

Meanwhile, a girl can hope!

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