Scientists from UC San Francisco have found that an Over The Counter (OTC) allergy drug could potentially reverse damages done by Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and improve the ability of patients to have more capable bodily functions. MS is a chronic condition which can lead to varying degrees of loss of bodily functions and you can read more about this condition here.
An OTC drug used for allergy treatment could potentially reverse damages done by Multiple Sclerosis
Based off a Phase II clinical trial study, the scientists have shown that FDA approved drugs used for allergy treatment have been able to restore and help with improving nervous system functions in patients with chronic MS. This is a condition which has affected more than 2.5 million people globally, and this finding could have interesting implications for patients fighting MS.
The OTC drug in question is known as clemastine fumarate, and was first indicated in 2013 as a useful drug to treat MS. The findings were uncovered by Jonah R. Chan, Ph.D., Debbie and Andy Rachleff from UCSF. According to the researchers, they believe that the compound enables the damage inflicted to the myelin to be repaired. The drug has been available in generic tablet format since 1993, and is known by various other brand names such as Tavist, Dayhist-1 etc.
The findings are published here on The Lancelet, and are one of the few which show that damages caused by a neurological disease on the brain can be repaired. Apparently, the results were significant, and patients in the trial who “the disease had gone on for years” still saw significant help in restoring the myelin.
Why is this particular finding novel?
This particular finding is novel as current MS treatments focus predominantly on trying to prevent and stop the immune system from attacking the myelin whereas very few have actually shown to restore the damaged myelin. This trial looked at 50 patients with relapsing and long-standing MS, and volunteers were test by their reaction speed to flickering patterns on a screen. The trial was also conducted with placebo and alternating control groups.
They concluded that though the findings are significant, it will be some time before the full effects of the drugs on the myelin can be accurately gauged due to a gap in technology. The results were notable, and provide some hope for patients suffering from MS, and more time is needed before something more hopeful can be created. Ari Green, the principal investigator of the trial commented that “This is the first step in a long process.”