Tysabri Approved for some Crohn's Patients
Tysabri, a drug initially used to treat Multiple Sclerosis has been approved for use in certain patients with Crohn's disease. This drug is not without risk and is to be prescibed only for patients with moderate-to-severe Crohn's disease who have failed with other drugs like Remicade and Humira. It should be available by the end of February 2008.
According to an article in today's issue of the Wall Street Journal, Tysabri is sold jointly by Elan Corp. and Biogen Idec Corp. The drug was originally approved as a treatment for MS in 2004 but was pulled off the market in 2005 after three patients in clinical trials contracted PML, a neurological disorder, and two patients died. Before releasing the drug this year, the companies are implementing a risk-management plan for the drug. The drug will be prescribed, distributed, and infused only by prescribers, infusion centers, and pharmacies registered with the program. Patients will also need to participate in the program and will be monitored for the development of side effects. Patients who don't show improvement after three months should be taken off of the drug.
While a new IBD drug is always exciting news we should all understand that this is not a drug that will prove an appropriate treatment option for all IBD patients. Only those Crohn's patients with moderate to severe disease should consider taking Tysabri. As always, talk to your doctor about the severity of your illness, the pros and cons of taking Tysabri, understand the potential side effects, and make a well informed decision about whether Tysabri is the right medication for you, your illness, and your family and lifestyle.