Gilenya Multiple Sclerosis Drug: What Are Its Side Effects?

What are the side effects of the newly approved anti multiple sclerosis drug, Gilenya? Read the write-up below.

An oral pill which treats the underlying causes of multiple sclerosis or MS has gained the approval of the US Food and Drugs Administration.

Gilenya, from Swiss drugmaker Novartis, gained the unanimous endorsement of the FDA which voted 25-0 to approve the drug.

The drug, also called fingolimod, works to reduce a type of white blood cells that often attacks the nervous system. It is the first oral drug that can slow the progression of disability and reduces the frequency and severity of MS.

However, the drug was reported by the FDA to have side effects. This includes a drop in pulse rate and macular edema in the eye. The FDA panel suggests that first-time users of Gilenya should be supervised by their doctors.

MS is an illness characterized by loss of balance, muscle spasms and other movement problems. This causes the body’s immune system to attack the protective coatings of the brain and spinal cord.

Other treatments include injectables and another pill-based drug that is designed to improve walking ability. MS affects 2.5 million people worldwide.