According to a story from Multiple Sclerosis News Today, the drug company Bristol-Myers Squibb recently announced that its drug ozanimod (marketed as Zeposia) is now available for public use in the US. This drug is used to treat the relapsing variants of multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease that affects the nervous system. Zeposia is taken by mouth and can be used to treat clinically isolated syndrome, secondary progressive MS, and relapsing-remitting MS.
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disease which is characterized by damage to the myelin sheath, a fatty, insulating, protective covering that surrounds nerve cells and allows them to communicate effectively. Although a precise cause has not been determined, multiple sclerosis is considered an autoimmune disease, in which a certain trigger, such as an infection, may cause the immune system to mistakenly attack healthy tissue. Smoking and certain genetic variants are also considered risk factors for the disease. Symptoms include blurred vision, double vision, blindness in one eye, numbness, abnormal sensations, pain, muscle weakness, muscle spasms, difficulty speaking and swallowing, mood instability, depression, loss of coordination, and fatigue. There are a number of treatments available for the disease, but no cure. Life expectancy for patients is slightly reduced. To learn more about multiple sclerosis, click here.
Zeposia is classified as a modulator of the sphingosine-1-phospate (S1P) receptor. This class of therapies prevents immune cells from leaving the lymph nodes, which prevents then from causing damage. While there are other drugs of this type that have been approved and are orally available, the company says that Zeposia offers an advantage over the others because it normally doesn’t require a genetic test or period of observation during the first dosing, which is typically 0.92 mg taken once per day.
Compared to other S1P modulators, Zeposia may also have an advantage in safety because it selects for specific types of S1P receptors. Before use, patients are expected to undergo an assessment of current medications, blood tests, and an analysis of heart and liver function. Other evaluations may be necessary when certain pre-existing conditions are present, such as eye or heart problems.
The European Commission has also approved the drug for relapsing-remitting MS.