No drug has been proven to modify the course of secondary progressive MS despite many studies. Further, it is not clear if there is continued inflammation in the brain in patients with secondary progressive MS. Research is now focusing on neuroprotective agents. Simvastatin (Zocor) was shown in clinical trials years ago to have measurable beneficial effects on MRI in MS patients. Another study showed that it may block the therapeutic effect of beta interferon. Now a new study showed that simvastatin could reduce brain atrophy in secondary progressive MS. No study has shown a consistent beneficial clinical effect. So, don’t take 80 mg of Zocor with the hope that it will improve the course of secondary progressive MS unless you need that dose to treat elevated cholesterol.
There are other potential neuroprotective drugs in the pipeline, including a monoclonal antibody termed anti-LINGO-1 that may promote remyelination. There are several other similar medications. They are all early in development and will not be available for at least 5 years.
Jack Florin, MD
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