Monday April 03 2017 12:24 PM
New treatment option available to help Irish Patients in fight against Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Daclizumab has a ‘double-action’ approach – offering a new once-monthly treatment option for people living with MS in Ireland.
A new once-monthly treatment for relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) that uniquely targets the immune system is now reimbursed in Ireland to help in the fight against this devastating disease.
The new medicine, named daclizumab, can be self-administered monthly at home and has been approved for reimbursement by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
Two Irish hospitals – St Vincent’s University Hospital Dublin and Beaumont Hospital Dublin - were part of an international research team carrying out the largest clinical trial ever reported in MS, called DECIDE.
This trial demonstrated daclizumab’s ability to reduce the frequency of relapses (attack of symptoms) as well as the risk of disease progression, compared to the widely-used MS medication interferon beta-1a.
Ms Ava Battles, Chief Executive of MS Ireland, welcomes daclizumab’s availability and reimbursement in Ireland: “The authorisation of daclizumab is another step forward in the fight against MS, offering hope to those living with the condition. The fact that it works in a different way to other therapies not only furthers our understanding of this complex disease, but also importantly gives people with MS, and doctors in Ireland, an additional treatment option to consider - which is vital because the course of the condition can be so different from person to person.”
How does daclizumab work?
Daclizumab is thought to work by targeting and blocking the growth of activated T cells, which are known to gradually damage myelin, and eventually damage the central nervous system (CNS). Additionally, daclizumab increases the number of natural killer cells in the body, strengthening their natural ability to find and kill existing activated T cells. By rebalancing the immune system, daclizumab is thought to help protect against damage within the CNS. Clinical studies have shown that daclizumab positively impacts relapse rates, disability progression, brain lesions (detected through MRI scans), and cognitive function in MS, along with a generally manageable safety profile.
Michael O’Connell, Country Director of Biogen Ireland, said: “We are pleased to offer daclizumab as an additional treatment option for relapsing forms of MS in Ireland. Great innovation in the MS field has taken place in recent years, but we still have too many patients falling short of optimal health outcomes. We have a responsibility as a company with great heritage in this area to continue our search for pharmacological solutions whilst also supporting the MS community more broadly.”
For more information on daclizumab including details of the clinical trial results, download Biogen's information sheet/press release.