First MS Pill Under Consideration

WASHINGTON, June 4 (UPI) — A drug by Novartis could become the first pill sold on the U.S. market for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, authorities said.

Gilenia, also called fingolimod, has been shown to significantly reduce relapses in patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis, Novartis officials said.

A federal advisory panel is to consider next week whether the Food and Drug Administration should approve the drug for sale in the United States, the San Antonio Express-News reported Friday.

Fingolimod is one of two multiple sclerosis drugs in pill form that have been submitted for FDA approval. Currently, drugs for multiple sclerosis must be injected or infused by patients.

Adverse events from fingolimod include bradycardia, macular edema, elevated liver enzyme levels and mild hypertension, Novartis said.

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