Tysabri and PML–what does the future hold?


Today I found out some bad news. 2 people on Tysabri have been diagnosed with PML, a potentially fatal brain disease. This disease is the reason Tysaberi was pulled a few years ago, but the general consensus was that if combined with another MS drug, it would result in the PML. This is not the case.

This is from today’s Wall Street Journal:

Two patients taking the multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri have developed the type of brain infection that caused the drug to be temporarily pulled from the market a few years back.

Biogen Idec and Elan, which co-market the drug, reported the cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy in SEC filings yesterday.

These are the first cases of PML that have emerged since the drug was taken off the market in 2005 after three patients in clinical trials developed PML, and two died from the infection. (Two of the patients had MS; a third had Crohn’s, which the drug is also approved for.)

Both new cases were diagnosed this week in the EU. One patient, who had been taking Tysabri for 17 months, is now “clinically stable and ambulatory at home,” the SEC filing said. That patient had not taken other MS drugs. The other patient, on the drug for 14 months, is hospitalized and had previously taken other MS drugs.

More than 30,000 people take Tysabri, and the companies have said all along that a small risk of PML remains associated with the drug. Analysts have been impressed with how many patients have returned to Tysabri since it went back on the market.

The drug will probably remain on the market despite the new cases, the WSJ suggests. That means patients and their doctors will face a potentially difficult decision: Weighing the benefits and risks of a drug that eases the burden of MS but slightly increases the risk of developing a second illness.

This is diheatening news for people like me. Tysabri is my last hope, my last chance. If this gets pulled, I am in trouble. I was building up resistance to the other MS drugs I had been on, and frankly, I don’t want to go back on the injections. This was my last hope.

While surfing around on FaceBook (my new guilty pleasure) I stumbled across this link. This video says it all. It speaks volumes about our struggle and our lives with this disease.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIBbgWabzUw

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4 thoughts on “Tysabri and PML–what does the future hold?

  1. I was saddened and distressed to hear this news. A lot of the bloggers I read and interact with regularly are on Tysabri so I realize that many people I know will be upset and affected by this news. I wish I could offer some hope but I’m actually not sure what to say at the moment…

  2. I am sorry to hear about the new cases of PML. Whatever decision you make about the continue treatment of your MS, make sure it is your decision and you can live with it.

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