MS is a disease that affects the central nervous system. It’s an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s own immune system attacks the myelin sheaths on the nerves, specifically in the brain and spinal cord. As a result, these nerves can no longer send signals effectively to different parts of the body. Unresponsive signals from these nerves can cause many symptoms.
People with MS may experience numbness, weakness, impaired balance, speech difficulties, visual disturbances and more. These symptoms are commonly referred to as “MS symptoms” or “MS flare-ups”.
They’re directly linked to lesions or scars forming in your nervous system as a result of your immune system attacking it. Fortunately, there are medicines available for managing MS and reducing its effects on your everyday life. One of these is Gilenya – one of MS treatments that blocks an enzyme called ubiquitin-specific protease 5 (PSPC5).
What is Gilenya?
Gilenya is a disease-modifying therapy used for treating MS. It belongs to a class of drugs called immunomodulatory therapies. Gilenya is used to prevent the progression of MS and reduce the frequency and severity of relapse symptoms. It is typically used as a second-line treatment after other DMARDs have failed.
Gilenya is prescribed to patients with relapsing-remitting MS who have had one or two episodes of disease activity. Gilenya is also prescribed to people who have experienced one episode of secondary progressive MS. The drug can also be used to treat patients with progressive MS who have had one episode of disease activity.
How does Gilenya Work?
Gilenya blocks an enzyme called ubiquitin-specific protease 5 (PSPC5). This enzyme is responsible for breaking down the myelin coats that protect the nerves in your spinal cord and brain. Proteins are the building blocks of tissues such as muscles, bones, and organs, while enzymes break these proteins down and recycle them. When Gilenya is taken, it inhibits the enzyme responsible for breaking down myelin. As a result, the myelin sheaths are preserved and the nerves are protected. This reduces the number of MS symptoms that may occur and can slow the progression of the disease.
Benefits of Gilenya
- Slows down the progression of MS.
- Gilenya may reduce the progression of MS by at least 10%. If taken at the right time, the drug may also slow down the disease by 50%.
- May reduce the frequency and severity of MS relapses.
- The drug can reduce the frequency and severity of MS relapses by about 30% in people who have experienced only one relapse.
- May reduce the frequency of flare-ups.
- Gilenya can reduce the number of flare-ups associated with the disease by about 20%.
- May improve walking, balance, and coordination.
- Gilenya can improve walking, balance, and coordination by about 30%.
- May improve bladder function.
- Gilenya may improve bladder function by about 30%.
- Nausea – About 15% of people who take Gilenya experience nausea.
- Headaches – About 10% of people experience headaches.
- Joint or muscle pain – Joint or muscle pain affects around 10% of Gilenya users.
- Indigestion – About 8% of Gilenya users experience indigestion.
- Unwanted hair growth – Around 5% of Gilenya users experience unwanted hair growth.
- High blood pressure– Gilenya can increase blood pressure in about 5% of users.
- Dizziness – Dizziness affects about 5% of Gilenya users.
- Sleepiness – Around 5% of Gilenya users experience sleepiness.
- Sweating – About 5% of Gilenya users experience excessive sweating.
- Swelling – Swelling affects around 5% of Gilenya users.
MS Treatment with Gilenya & Tysabri Together
Tysabri and Gilenya are considered a good combination therapy for people with highly active relapsing-remitting MS. The two drugs have different mechanisms of action and are used together to prevent relapse and reduce the severity of MS symptoms. These drugs are prescribed to people who have had at least two relapses in the past two years and are experiencing new or recurring lesions in the brain or spinal cord. Tysabri is usually taken for the first two years of treatment. Gilenya can be taken for two years or more, depending on how well it manages MS symptoms.
Final Words: Are you ready for a life with MS?
If you are diagnosed with MS, you’ll have to be prepared for a life of dealing with symptoms. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to stop living your life. In fact, some people with MS experience no symptoms at all. Gilenya, like other MS treatments, can significantly reduce the number of MS symptoms and slow down progression of the disease. With the right treatment, MS can be managed, and you can continue to lead a happy, healthy life.