Minocycline, a common acne drug, has been found to delay the progress of multiple sclerosis (MS) for patients in the early stages of the condition.
The Canadian study was published in the The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). It is thought that the discovery could change the way the early onset of MS is treated.
The phase III clinical trial consisted of 142 people, from 12 MS Clinics across Canada, aged 18-60, with early signs of possible MS. All of the participants had experienced their first possible relapse, known as clinically isolated syndrome (CIS). Most people experience a second relapse within six months of their first.
The researchers randomised the study’s participants to receive 100 mg twice daily of the oral drug minocycline or a placebo for six months. During that time twice as many people (61%) in the placebo group developed MS, compared with those who took minocycline (33%).
The cost of treating patients with minocycline could be significantly cheaper compared to injectable therapies currently available. The drug has also been around for 50 years, so it is known to be safe and clinicians can prescribe the medication off label. It is also an oral tablet rather than an injectable which offers patients more options.
Source: MS-UK (01/06/17)