It's a problem that affects about 350,000 people in the U.S., mostly women. Multiple Sclerosis is unpredictable and progressive. Its a disease in which scattered patches of nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord lose their myelin, or protective covering. For the first time, researchers have found a therapy that at least helps fight the terrible fatigue that comes with the disease. Oddly enough, it's a drug already approved in treating Narcolepsy, that is a condition where people are wide awake, then suddenly asleep.
New research from Ohio State Medical Center shows the drug, Provigil, also helps give MS patients a boost of energy. A study of 72 MS patients found that those who took 200 milligrams of the drug once a day felt more alert and had less fatigue than those who got a Placebo. The researchers say Provigil is the first drug to breakthrough the chronic fatigue that plagues up to 90% of patients with MS.
The drug, also known as Modanifil, may have side effects, which include:
Researchers say those problems were no worse than similar troubles experienced by the folks in the study taking the Placebo. In addition to fatigue, MS patients experience a combination of a number of symptoms that include:
Provigil is approved to treat Narcolepsy, and recent studies show it's also an effective therapy for people with sleep apnea.
The study appears in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. The research was led by Dr. Kottil W. Rammohan, Neurologist at the Ohio State University Medical Center.