Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Drugs
Drugs Used to Treat Multiple Sclerosis
This editorial on the multiple sclerosis drugs is an opinion. It cannot be viewed as indelible 'fact'. Nevertheless, having reviewed and investigated the drugs available for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, I am compelled to offer this opinion because I feel the risks involved in the use of the drugs known as interferons or glatiramer acetate are considerably understated.
First of all, it must be understood by anyone considering or currently using multiple sclerosis drugs, that the mechanisms by which the drugs exert their influence on the course of multiple sclerosis exacerbations is unknown. By definition this makes them experimental.
Statistically, it appears to me that there is a very thin line between the placebo control groups and those exposed to the drugs although this appears to satisfy the requirements for approval for use in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, the qualifying conditions of which I admit to knowing little about.
What concerns me greatly are the reported side effects of the multiple sclerosis drugs. With the interferons drugs group, in my opinion, the most savage is the potential to induce hepatic dysfunction. Perversely, use of interferon drugs has been implicated in worsening, or inducing, psychiatric conditions in some patients with MS. What this means in practice is that using these drugs can create, where there was none; suicide ideation and severe depression in some individuals.
With glatiramer acetate, the 'immune complexes' are deposited in the renal glomeruli, which to me suggests that kidney functioning could be severely impaired with long-term drugs use, although as yet, there is no firm scientific evidence to support such an opinion.
I am also greatly concerned by what appears to be the decreased ability to fight off common infections such as oral moniliasis and the apparent digestive system implications which also appear to be suggested by ulcerative stomatitis, bowel urgency and salivary gland enlargement after using ms drugs.
There are also highly worrying reports, again, these cannot yet be directly linked with exposure to either interferon or glatiramer acetate drug exposure; of urogenital dysfunctioning such as interference with the normal cycling of periods in women and in severe events, a wide range of serious urogenital disorders.
It may well be that it is not the direct action of the multiple sclerosis drugs causing these events but rather their effects on limiting the functioning of the immune system ability to fight off pathogens already present in the body. Time will eventually tell.
What is not in dispute, is that there are documented and substantiated potentially devastating side effects which are associated with exposure to both drugs groups; interferons and glatiramer acetate.
There will of course be those who are of the opinion that I am being alarmist in pointing to the potential side effects of the drugs and that there are many people who experience few adverse events. This may be true to a point, but I would draw their attention to the number of reported adverse events, even amongst pre-marketing control groups and the relatively small number of participants in the groups who have reported significant adverse events while using the ms drugs.
The evidence for the effectiveness of both types of drug point to early intervention as being the most effective in delaying exacerbations. However, given the potential for adverse and possibly devastating side effects from drugs use, including paradoxically, autoimmune hepatitis, the decision to embark on a course of multiple sclerosis drugs treatment is not an automatic one and should never be taken without due regard for the possible consequences.