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Report: Natalizumab A Safe & Effective Therapy for Pediatric MS

October 2, 2015

A new study recently published in the journal BMC Neurology revealed that natalizumab (Tysabri) is a safe and effective medication for pediatric cases of multiple sclerosis. The study entitled: “Natalizumab in the pediatric MS population: results of the Italian registry” was conducted by researchers at several Italian hospitals and Universities.

Natalizumab is an antibody used for MS treatment and has now emerged as a leading option for pediatric patients who are experiencing rapid evolution of the disease. The only concern is the lack of data detailing the long term effects of the drug.

In this study, researchers investigated data from a registry established in Italy in 2007 with MS patients, all less than 18 years old, under natalizumab treatment. Data from 101 MS patients was collected. The patient cohort had a mean age at MS onset of 12.9 years, a mean age at the initiation of natalizumab treatment of 14.7 years, and mean treatment duration of 34.2 months (almost three years).

Researchers found that overall, the treatment led to a significant reduction in annual relapse rate and a decrease in disability as measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale, in comparison to the period before the treatment began. At the time of the last follow-up visit, 58% of the patients were found to be free from clinical disease activity (in terms of relapses and increased EDSS), and new MRI lesions. In terms of safety, no relevant adverse events were reported.

The team concluded that natalizumab is a safe, well-tolerated and effective therapy for the majority of the pediatric MS patients, and suggests that natalizumab should be given to this patient population, especially when they experience an aggressive disease course.