A NEW drug to treat patients with the most common form of multiple sclerosis could soon be used to help Scots with the condition.
The treatment Tecfidera has been approved for use by the European Commission in patients with relapsing-remitting MS - the most common form of the disease where symptoms can come and go.
The capsule was first approved in the United States in March last year and within six months had become the country’s number one prescribed oral treatment for this type of MS.
Scotland is believed to have one of the highest rates of MS in the world and doctors now hope that many patients will be able to benefit from the new treatment, made by company Biogen Idec.
Dr Belinda Weller, consultant neurologist at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh said she was “delighted” the treatment had been licenced.
“This is the first time we’ve had an oral treatment available as a first-line treatment option and many of our patients have been waiting for it to become available in the UK,” she said.
“It is thought that Tecfidera works on two key areas of MS pathology - reducing inflammation and potentially also neuro-degeneration.
“Tecfidera provides a good option for patients wanting an effective and simple to use oral medication”.
Clinical trials showed that Tecfidera could significantly reduce important measures of MS activity, including relapses and the development of brain lesions, as well as slow down the progression of disability.