MS Drug No Longer Believed to Cause Cancer


Cladribine was previously denied market authorization on the suspicion that it may cause cancer.

Cladribine was previously denied market authorization on the suspicion that it may cause cancer.

A drug for multiple sclerosis (MS) that was previously thought to cause cancer was recently cleared of its association with the deadly disease. The drug Cladribine was shown in previous studies to be highly effective in treating relapsing MS.

One study showed Cladribine to reduce relapses by over 50%, with nearly 50% of people showing no signs of disease activity for 2 years after treatment with the drug. Despite these findings, Cladribine was refused market authorization on the suspicion that it may cause cancer due to the interpretation of previous data.

However, a new study recently released in the journal Neurology: Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation compared the incidence of cancer where patients had been treated with Cladribine to other studies where they had been treated with other similar drugs currently licensed for use in treating MS.

The study found no evidence to support the interpretation that the drug increases the risk of cancer in people with MS. In fact, Cladribine was found to be more effective, safer, and easier to use, with the potential to be cheaper than other drugs currently on the market.

“Our research shows that clinical academics and drug makers should continue to develop Cladribine for people with relapsing MS as the risk of developing cancer is no greater than for other types of current medication,” said Dr. Klaus Schmierer, lead author and reader in Clinical Neurology at Queen Mary University of London and consultant neurologist at Barts Health NHS Trust.

“As well as being easier and cheaper to administer, Cladribine benefits female patients who want to get pregnant,” he said. “Other drugs used to treat relapsing MS need to be stopped during pregnancy and that can expose women to increased risk of MS disease activity. That’s not the case with Cladribine, which has a long lasting effect.”

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