All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for June 2003

Approved and Future Pharmacotherapy for Multiple Sclerosis

Neurolog. 2002 Sep;8(5):290-301
Stuve O, Cree BC, Von Budingen HC, Yousef S, Bowen JD, Genain CP, Hauser SL, Steinman L, Zamvil SS.
Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, California (O.S., B.C.C., H.-C.v.B., C.P.G., S.L.H., S.S.Z.); the Department of Neurology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington (J.D.B.); and the Department of Neurology, Stanford University, Stanford, California.


Pharmacotherapy for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) advanced with the demonstration that interferon beta and glatiramer acetate improve the clinical course of this disease.

Mitoxantrone is the first drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of secondary progressive MS.

Despite this progress, the agents presently available are only partially effective, are difficult to administer, and may have significant side effects.

Several orally administered immunomodulatory agents are presently being evaluated for treatment of MS.

One class of drugs, HMG CoA inhibitors (statins), is safe and well-tolerated and could become another mainstay of MS therapy.


This article reviews the clinical evidence for approved MS therapies and discusses their mechanisms of action.

Furthermore, the clinical and laboratory data suggesting a potential role for statins in MS therapy are discussed.


Although treatment with interferon beta, glatiramer acetate, and mitoxantrone, the approved therapies, provide important treatment options for patients with relapsing-remitting MS and secondary progressive MS, the potential benefits of other medications, including statins, should be explored in controlled clinical trials.