Michaela asks Dr. Carolyn Young if it makes sense to keep taking DMT into one’s senior years.
Does it make sense to keep taking a DMT into your senior years?
Right. So DMTs, or Disease Modifying Therapies are the injections like the interferons and Copaxone, all the new tablets, or the monoclonal antibodies which are given by drip, and those are specifically for relapsing remitting MS, so rather than think about it in terms of age terms, you’ve got to think whether you’ve still got the relevant type of MS, because many people who start off with relapsing remitting MS find that their MS changes with time into secondary progressive and these drugs either are ineffective or very substantially much less effective, and indeed are not licensed for the treatment of secondary progressive MS. So if the MS has changed, then the drug may be irrelevant and that doesn’t really matter whether you’re old or young, it’s what your MS is doing.
Okay. Can you tell us a bit more about the treatments for the secondary progressive MS?
Right, so we’re looking really hard in research terms for a disease modifying therapy for secondary progressive MS and we’ve tested many of the medications that we’ve already got available for relapsing remitting MS and been disappointed to find that they’ve not been beneficial for secondary progressive. Because the aim in secondary progressive MS is different, it’s not about reducing the frequency of the relapses, it’s about trying to reduce the chance of somebody progressing in future and keep them stable. So that’s a really very different scientific hurdle to jump over, we’ve not succeeded, but that’s not through want of effort.
MS Reporter: Michaela
MS Expert: Dr. Carolyn Young, Professor of Neurology