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04/01/2003 - News

Cholesterol-lowering drug looks promising in multiple sclerosis

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


Early trials suggest that simvastatin, a cholesterol-lowering drug, may be effective against the most common form of multiple sclerosis.

In multiple sclerosis (MS), the myelin sheath surrounding the nerves degenerates, leading to a wide range of disabling symptoms. The most common form, relapsing-remitting MS, is characterised by attacks followed by long remission till the next unpredictable attack occurs. The disease can be treated by interferons, but these do have some side effects even though they can decrease the frequency and severity of attacks.

Researchers at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, USA, now reveal that the cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin has some impact in MS. Magnetic resonance imaging shows a reduction in MS-related inflammatory lesions in the brain on simvastatin treatment. So far, the drug seems to be well-tolerated by MS patients. Long-term controlled clinical trials are now needed to assess the true effectiveness of simvastatin in MS.


American Academy of Neurology Meeting 31st March 2003

Created on: 04/01/2003
Reviewed on: 04/01/2003

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