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Cladribine (Mylinax) – Oral Medication for the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

By Mary Kyle Blogger

Good news! The use of Cladribine for the treatment of multiple sclerosis may be one step closer to a reality. In case you are not familiar with Cladribine, it is an ORAL (yes, you heard me right – oral - not injection!) medication for the treatment of MS.

The Cladribine tablets for treating MS orally (CLARITY) trial results were presented at the American Academy of Neurology conference in April 2009. The trial reported excellent findings on the effectiveness of the use of Cladribine for preventing MS relapses (for more information on the CLARITY trial results, please see results of the CLARITY trial – oral medication for multiple sclerosis - http://www.empowher.com/news/herarticle/2009/07/01/results-clarity-trial...). If approved, Cladribine would be the FIRST oral medication available for the treatment of MS.

As someone who has MS, all I can say is HALLELUJAH! It’s about time! I have to say that I’m more than a little bit excited about the possibility of an oral medication. While I’m doing very well on the injection-based medication that I currently take, I have to admit that I don’t like shots. In truth, it’s much more than just not liking shots and needles.

I’m simply tired of having to take a shot every day. I’m tired of having to travel with a note from my doctor regarding why I need to have the medication with me so that the airlines and Homeland Security won’t send me to the strip search line. I’m tired of traveling with an ice chest no matter where I go to keep the medicine refrigerated. I’m tired of the hassle. Frankly, I’m just tired of being a “big girl” and sucking it up each night to give myself a shot. After 10 years, I’m simply tired of being “brave” about having to take a shot!

Yes, I know. Whine! Whine! Whine!! My family and friends will be shocked since I’m not a complainer but the truth is the truth. I’m really just a baby under this big brave exterior and I’m tired of this aspect of MS and its intrusion into my lifestyle. Given the chance, I’ll definitely be considering the oral medication as a treatment option instead of the injection.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Add a Comment8 Comments

Mary Kyle Blogger

Hello Anon... Thank you for sharing about your personal experience in the trial for FTY720. I've been following the progress on several of the new oral medications for MS so it's really good to hear from someone who is actually involved with the trial and to know that they are having a positive experience.

Please check back with us from time to time and let us know how you are doing and if you still have the same thoughts on the drug. I know one of the big concerns (as with any new medication) has been not only whether or not it works but whether or not it's safe. It's nice to hear feedback that supports the marketing reports. :-)

January 18, 2010 - 9:58am
misvives HERWriter Guide

Thank you anonymous for sharing your progress, please visit us again to keep us and our readers updated!

January 17, 2010 - 10:08am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I am one of the "Test Pilots" for Novartis and the FTY720 I am in phase II and doing well I have only small relapses in that time and no new plaque in my MRI's I am closely monitored with my labs and I LOVE hot shooting up everyday just pop a pill I sincerely hope that it is approved by the FDA!

January 17, 2010 - 9:14am
Mary Kyle Blogger

Hi Anon... You make a good point. All medications (including the current drugs available) have some type of side effects - some serious and some mild. To me the real question is does the benefit outweigh the potential risks or side effects? I think that time will be the answer to that question.

There are several new pill formats on the horizon other than oral Cladribine. Hopefully, one of them will be the "home run" - that is, effective, safe and with few or limited side effects which are mild to nil. If not, then at least the basis of the research will still be there and perhaps the next round will produce good results for all of us.

December 14, 2009 - 10:56pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Although this sounds good and I too want to be injection free, I feel the possible side effects could be a deal breaker. From what I understand the possiblity of infection or cancer is higher and that is scary.

December 14, 2009 - 7:51pm
Mary Kyle Blogger

Folks.... Please don't misunderstand me. I am NOT advocating that everyone run down and switch from your current MS protocol to Cladribine or the Novartis AG oral medication. As with any treatment option, this is a decision that is between YOU and your doctor. However, this is the first time that any of us will have a real OPTION in the type of treatment we receive. Having an option is significant. If safe and effective, it will also be a significant breakthrough.

Frankly, I think it's long overdue that we have options in our treatment. I'm glad to see research moving in a direction to try to provide less invasive forms of treatments. It means that they are working!!
I am excited to see the direction the research is taking, not only in this but some of the vaccines, etc. It's also the first time in 10 years that my doctor has indicated that this is one we need to watch because in his opinion, it will be as effective as what I'm on now. As indicated above, if it also turns out to not only be as effective, but also as safe as the current therapy, then it is a viable treatment option.

I think that the statistics were that only 36% of the MS patients in the US receive treatment. Many people simply cannot stomach taking the shots. Maybe an alternative treatment will help those people.
I personally know someone who stopped their shots two weeks ago because they simply could not handle taking one more shot and living with the horrific side effects that their "treatment" gave them. I have a girlfriend who stopped taking shots 3 years ago after 10 years on the shots. My aunt has been in a wheelchair from MS for over 40 years now. She's quit taking treatment and is no longer waiting for the cure. It won't come in her lifetime.

For those of us living with MS, we all know the potential consequences of discontinuing treatment. Yet, I can't blame/condemn those who have stopped. The treatment is not easy either physically or mentally, especially when it drags on for years. Perhaps either the Cladribine or the Novatris oral medication will provide an answer for many.

Again, as with any treatment, it is a decision between YOU and your doctor. Only you can decide what is right for you.

August 5, 2009 - 7:52am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hi Mary,

I understand your excitement. I was diagnosed just under a year ago, and I am doing fantastically well on my Betaferon injections every second day. I was thrilled to hear of this oral drug on the way, but after thinking about it for a while, I have decided that I may not jump in and take this option once it becomes available. Yes, I hate the injections, yes they hurt, but yes they make me better. I don't want to mess with that now for the sake of a new drug. I think I will just wait around for the cure :)

August 5, 2009 - 1:50am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

FYI - Oral Meds may not be as easy or simplistic as you deem them to be.. It's not Just popping a pill. The patient will need to be regulated with Patient - physician updates and much protocol needs to be met. The oral meds have more adverse side effects that doing the injection. Cladribine is not a safe drug to begin with. If it was, don't ya think it would be used more than what is being used now (it's presently used now- intraveneously). *

And for all doing an injectable, who are responding well with it, should not be attempting a switch. Like the ol' saying : "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".*

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August 4, 2009 - 10:06am
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