Flu and Flu Vaccine Information
Recent news reports and statistical information indicate that this year the incidence rate for seasonal influenza (flu) is already high and is widely impacting communities across the nation. The good news is that the flu immunization prepared for the 2012-2013 flu season appears to be very well matched to those flu strains occurring across the country; therefore, preventative measures such as obtaining a flu vaccine may be helpful in preventing the contraction of the flu.
MSAA's Mobile Phone App Launches in the Android Marketplace
My MS Manager™, the first-of-its-kind mobile phone application developed to help individuals better manage their MS, is now available on the Android platform. Since its launch in the Apple App Store in June of 2011, My MS Manager has been downloaded more than 9,000 times, with users entering data about their MS on various Apple mobile products.
Emergency and Assistive Services in Response to Hurricane Sandy
The impact of Hurricane Sandy to the residents of the mid-Atlantic, Northeastern, and Midwestern United States has been devastating. Making landfall on Monday, October 29, 2012, MSAA’s staff is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life as well as the destruction of personal possessions, homes, and businesses, caused by this storm.
Aubagio® (Oral Teriflunomide) Receives FDA Approval
On September 12, 2012, Sanofi and its subsidiary Genzyme announced that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved their new drug, Aubagio® (oral teriflunomide), for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). The FDA had accepted their New Drug Application (NDA) in October, 2011. This is the ninth disease-modifying therapy approved by the FDA for the long-term treatment of MS. Of these nine, Aubagio is the second approved medication for MS that is taken orally.
MSAA Recieves APEX Award for Publication Excellence
MSAA is proud to announce that a 2012 APEX Award for Publication Excellence has been given to our online video webinar, "How to S.E.A.R.C.H..™ for the Right MS Therapy for You!" This is the first APEX Award MSAA has received in the category of webinars and the eighth APEX Award received overall. This year's APEX award competition drew approximately 3,400 entries across a range of 11 categories.
Highlights from The Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers Annual Meeting, Held in San Diego (May 31 - June 4, 2012)
The Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) annual meeting provides a unique opportunity for MS professionals to come together in an interdisciplinary setting to discuss all aspects of MS care. Attendees include physicians, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists, social workers, and other MS professionals. Topics are wide-ranging, from the latest advances in research and symptom management, to practical workshops designed to improve hands-on care.
Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act
On June 28, 2012 a historic decision was made by the United States Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA was originally approved by Congress and was then signed into law on March 23, 2010. The law was designed to make many changes to the way the healthcare and insurance systems work in the United States, with most of the scheduled changes requested to be implemented within a four-year period, or by the end of 2014.
Multiple Sclerosis Association of America's MRI Institute Marks 10 Years of Helping Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis Obtain MRIs
The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is proud to mark the 10-year anniversary of one of its most sought after programs - the MRI Institute . This program is designed to help people who have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and lack health insurance coverage, acquire an MRI scan. The Institute has been supported by the pharmaceutical companies EMD Serono, Inc. and Pfizer Inc since 2002. During that time, the Institute has helped over 7,500 individuals who have MS and could not otherwise afford an MRI to monitor their multiple sclerosis.
Highlights from The American Academy of Neurology's Annual Meeting
This year's American Academy of Neurology (AAN) meeting was especially exciting for multiple sclerosis (MS) clinicians and researchers. Results were presented from clinical trials that have been ongoing for the past three-to-four years, many of which focus on the "new generation" of oral drugs for managing MS progression. Studies have looked at the effectiveness and safety of the new agents, particularly as compared to the standard injectible drugs that became available starting in the early 1990's. Data on these new agents have been released gradually as the studies progressed through the clinical trials process, and anticipation of the details from completed studies has been building.
Dive into Action Today with MSAA's Swim for MS Pool Party!
The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is proud to offer volunteers the opportunity to dive into action through the Swim for MS Pool Party. An offshoot of MSAA's popular Swim for MS program, the Pool Party is a one-day event volunteers host in their own backyard or community pool. To begin to plan their Swim for MS Pool Party, volunteers first select a date, then select an activity - such as cannonballs, swimming laps or even a game of Marco Polo - and finally collect pledges from friends and family for the activity chosen. It's as easy as 1-2-3!
FDA Issues CCSVI Treatment Warning
On May 10, 2012, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about experimental therapies aimed at treating chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI). This is a complex condition involving changes in blood flow from the brain back to the heart, caused by the twisting or collapse of certain veins located on the outside of the brain.
New Prescribing Information for Gilenya
On April 20, 2012, Novartis announced changes to the prescribing information for Gilenya™ (fingolimod) in the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). This new prescribing information is applicable only to individuals who have not been given a first dose of Gilenya or for those who have stopped and will be restarting the drug. These changes do not affect any guidelines for individuals who are currently taking Gilenya.
Awaiting FDA Review: MS Patient with PML on Gilenya after Tysabri
Novartis released a safety information update on April 13, 2012 stating that an individual with MS who was taking Gilenya (fingolimod) was diagnosed with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). This infection of the brain has been associated with another treatment for MS, Tysabri® (natalizumab). Depending on the risk factors discussed below, a small number of MS patients may develop PML either while taking Tysabri or up to three months after discontinuing this drug.
March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month
The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is pleased to recognize March as MS Awareness Month. During the month of March, MSAA will be highlighting various programs designed to expand knowledge, understanding, and support of individuals whose lives are affected by multiple sclerosis (MS).
FDA Approves Avonex Pen™ and Initial Dosing Regimen
Biogen Idec announced last week that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved both a new device (the Avonex Pen) as well as a new dosing regimen for Avonex (interferon beta-1a). These two approvals are aimed at assisting patients who are either taking Avonex presently, or who are just starting Avonex, for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS).
Biogen Idec Submits Application to FDA for BG-12
Biogen Idec announced last week that they have submitted an application to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval of BG-12 (dimethyl fumarate), an experimental oral drug for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). The company plans to also submit an application for the same drug to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) shortly. Biogen Idec expects to hear back from these two agencies within a few months regarding the status and potential approval of BG-12.
Antibody Test Identifies New Risk Factor for PML
On January 20, 2012, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that three factors are now identified with increasing the risk of Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML) for individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) being treated with Tysabri® (natalizumab). PML is a potentially fatal brain infection with the JC virus (JCV), in people with weakened immune systems. The FDA has approved a labeling change, which adds the results of a newly approved test for the presence of anti-JCV antibodies, to the two previously listed risk factors.
MSAA Honored with a Web Health Award | MOBILE for My MS Manager™
The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA ) is pleased to announce My MS Manager ™ , MSAA's mobile phone application, has been honored by the Web Health Awards | MOBILE with a Merit Award in the category of Mobile Application: Chronic Disease Management; Small Mobile Device in the Association/Professional Society/Non-Profit division.
European Agency Recommends Increased Monitoring with First Dose of Gilenya
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced that it has started a review of Gilenya (fingolimod) in response to reports of potential heart issues associated with the first dose of this drug.
Potential Drug Packaging Problem
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has notified the public that a packaging problem may have occurred with eight narcotic-type drugs (such as Opana®, Percocet®, and Endocet®), where a stray pill may have gone into another's packaging.
Gileyna News Update
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation has informed the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) that a patient with multiple sclerosis (MS), who had been given one dose of Gilenya® (fingolimod), died on the following day. The individual's death occurred on November 23, 2011.
ECTRIMS Update 2011
This year's joint meeting of the European and Americas Committees for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS/ACTRIMS) was extremely well attended. More than 7,000 professionals attended the meeting, which featured more than 1,000 presentations - all in a whirlwind three-and-a-half days.
The following highlights review only a few of the many topics discussed at the meeting, but they reflect research of ongoing interest to the entire MS community.
FDA Launches Website on Safe Disposal of Used Needles
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that they have launched a new website (www.fda.gov/safesharpsdisposal ) devoted to information and instruction for the safe disposal of needles and other "sharps" used by individuals at home, work, and while traveling. In addition to standard needles and syringes, other dangerous medical supplies for disposal include items such as lancets or finger-stick devices for blood testing; needle and tubing systems, plus connection needles for hemodialysis at home.
Many questions still surround the possible connection between chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) and multiple sclerosis (MS). This update provides an overview of CCSVI as well as a synopsis of information currently available.
Multiple Sclerosis Association of America Honored for Publication Excellence
The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is pleased to announce awards for two of its publications:
Daddy's Story - MSAA's children's book received a 2011 Magnum Opus Award for Outstanding Achievement in Custom Media (Bronze Award in the category of Nonprofit Publication, Best All Around) and a 2011 National Health Information Award (Merit Award) for Patient Education Information.
Multiple Sclerosis Association of America and National Disability Institute Launch a Four-Part Webinar Series on Financial Wellness for the Multiple Sclerosis Community
The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) and National Disability Institute (NDI) are collaborating on a series of four free webinars designed to assist the MS community in learning about strategies to protect and improve their financial well-being.
Botox® Approved for Urinary Incontinence
On August 24, 2011, Allergan, Inc. announced that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Botox® (onabotulinumtoxinA) injection for the treatment of urinary incontinence. Specifically, the approval is for adults who experience "detrusor over-activity" resulting from a neurological condition, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and who either do not respond adequately or are intolerant of anticholinergic medications.
Article Published on the Cost Effectiveness for Treating MS
Much attention has been focused on an article appearing in the July 26 issue of Neurology (vol. 77, pages 355-363) titled, "Cost-effectiveness of disease-modifying therapies for multiple sclerosis." This article presents the results of a study that looks at several factors in an effort to estimate the overall 10-year expense versus benefit associated with the long-term treatments for MS, in combination with other costs and lost wages.