Experimental Oral FTY720 Results

Dec 13 2008

FTY720 is a daily oral experimental medication in development for MS treatment. In a Phase III trial, FTY720 was compared to Avonex over one year in 1292 relapsing-remitting patients.  The 0.5 mg low dose FTY720 reduced relapses 52% compared to Avonex.  The 1.25 mg high dose reduced relapses by 38% compared to Avonex.

Some patients in the trial on FTY720 developed low heart rate at the start of treatment and high liver blood tests.  Back of the eye swelling (macular edema) was seen in less than 1% of patients. Seven skin cancers were successfully removed from patients treated with FTY720. Two patients on the 1.25 mg dose of FTY720 died from fatal herpes infections.  One of these patients developed chicken pox for the first time as an adult while on FTY720 and steroids.   The second patient had herpes simplex encephalitis which is generally treatable, but anti-viral therapy was delayed.

The MS Center for Innovations in Care was a site for this trial.  For more information on FTY720 including a trial seeking patients, visit the clinical trials section.

BY: Barry Singer, MD DATE: December 13, 2008 TOPIC: MS Research News