1-Apr-13 7:00 AM  CST

FDA Approves New Drug Tecfidera to Treat Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis

The FDA has approved Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) manufactured by Biogen Idec for the treatment of reoccurring forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). 
 
Clinical trials performed on Tecfidera showed a decrease in MS relapses in many patients as compared to those patients who were given a mock version of the pill, also known as a placebo.  As pharmacy technicians know, MS symptoms often first appear in individuals between the ages of 20 and 40 years of age and lead to decreases in functioning and a higher chance of disability.  In addition, MS patients must deal with muscle weakness, balance difficulty, sensation problems, difficulty thinking, blurred vision, and fatigue. 
 
Russell Katz, M.D. and director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research recently commented on the success of multiple sclerosis drugs used to treat the disabling condition.  “No drug provides a cure for multiple sclerosis so it is important to have a variety of treatment options available to patients,” said Katz. 
 
Common adverse side effects associated with taking Tecfidera were flushing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and a possible decrease in patients white blood count.   
 
Please be sure to check out NPTA’s continuing education article by Sandra Andrews: Multiple Sclerosis – Searching for Answers, in the latest issue of Today’s Technician (issue 14.1).
 
Sources: 
1.  Yao, Stephanie.  “FDA Approves New Multiple Sclerosis Treatment:  Tecfidera.”  FDA.gov.  Web.  27 Mar 2013. 
 
2.  Pollack, Andrew.  “3rd Oral Drug to Treat MS is Approved by the FDA.”  NY Times.  Web.  27 Mar 2013.  
 
3.  Tirrell, Meg.  “Biogen Gains Approval to Sell its First Pill for MS.”  Bloomberg News.  Web.  28 Mar 2013.          
 
4.  ASHP Daily Briefing.  “New Capsule for Treating MS Approved by FDA.”  ASHP.  Web.  28 Mar 2013.   

For additional information on this article, please contact:
 
Jennifer S. O'Reilly
 
Source: NPTAnews  
http://www.pharmacytechnician.org

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