FDA approves MS drug

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FDA approves MS drug

By Brian Berk - 03/29/2017

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration approved Genentech’s Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) to treat adult patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis and primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS).


This is the first drug approved by the FDA for PPMS. Ocrevus is an intravenous infusion given by a health care professional. 


“Multiple sclerosis can have a profound impact on a person’s life,” said Billy Dunn, M.D., director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “This therapy not only provides another treatment option for those with relapsing MS, but for the first time provides an approved therapy for those with primary progressive MS.”


MS is a chronic, inflammatory, autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that disrupts communication between the brain and other parts of the body. It is among the most common causes of neurological disability in young adults and occurs more frequently in women than men.


PPMS is characterized by steadily worsening function from the onset of symptoms, often without early relapses or remissions. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 15% of patients with MS have PPMS.


The efficacy of Ocrevus for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS was shown in two clinical trials in 1,656 participants treated for 96 weeks. Both studies compared Ocrevus to another MS drug, Rebif (interferon beta-1a). In both studies, the patients receiving Ocrevus had reduced relapse rates and reduced worsening of disability compared to Rebif.


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