More MS news articles for January 2001

New relief for MS patients suffering from fatigue

Stephanie Robinson

Jan. 22 -  Imagine the smallest task leaving you exhausted, unable to carry on without a few hours rest. Thatís how people with Multiple Sclerosis often feel.

New relief may be in sight, with a new drug for fatigue.

Cheryl Hillman has energy now to go outside and smell the roses. "Working close to nature is something I've always enjoyed," she said. "The yellow ones are so fragrant."

A fatigue fight drug has helped this Multiple Sclerosis patient get out of a wheelchair and get back on her feet.

"The energy level was so different. I didn't have to go lay down an hour or two during the day," Hillman said. "Fatigue can be so incapacitating that once you get up in the morning, you can't get off the couch."

"MS causes extreme fatigue in 75 percent of its patients," said neurologist Dr. Jay Rosenberg.

Neurologists at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego discovered the drug Modafinil, used to treat the sleeping disorder narcolepsy, can help.

"Of the 69 percent of patients that improved, 30 percent improved markedly," said Rosenberg.

The drug has given Hillman her energy back.

"Every day when I wake up, there's a good chance that I'm gong to be able to function normally," she said.

That includes swimming-prescribed therapy for MS patients, like Hillman.

"Just getting in and out of the pool, walking up and down the steps was very difficult.  A whole new world has opened up for me actually, by having this drug."