The medicine has already been approved in Europe, Canada and Australia. Late last year, the FDA had said that the drug was not ready for approval in the U.S. market.
Lemtrada is given in two courses via an intravenous drip for five days and for three days one year later. It is designed to re-program the immune system, but in doing so, can make the body more vulnerable to other diseases. It is suggested to try only after other MS therapies have failed.
According to the Boston Globe,
“This is a great day for the MS community,” said Melissa J. Burdick, an MS patient from Waterford, Conn., who lodged one of several citizen petitions with the FDA after it refused to approve Lemtrada last December. I’m absolutely thrilled beyond words to have this choice. Many people, including me, have wanted another treatment option.”
“Genzyme executives said Lemtrada will be priced at $158,000 for two courses of treatment over two years. Rebif, a competing drug compared with Lemtrada in clinical studies, costs $134,600 for a similar treatment regimen, or 17 percent less. But the Genzyme executives pointed out that patients on Lemtrada suffered 50 percent fewer relapses than those taking the other drug.”
Does the approval of this new MS drug make you hopeful? Are you interested in trying Lemtrada?