Q of the Week: Regaining Lost Function

Editor's Note: This article was originally written by community member Steve.

Is it possible to regain lost function?

Now with that said, let me also provide caution that everyone's MS unfolds in different ways, but for me, the answer is yes. Let me explain.

I've had MS for 17 years and like most people with primary progressive was seeing consistent erosion in physical capability. About three years ago I switched from one of the A-B-C drugs and took a chance with Zenapax (Daclizumab), which had an amazing, positive impact on my balance, gait, coordination and energy. Although I was a compulsive exercise nut during the negative progression years, I started being able to do physical activities that I was previously incapable of, like tennis, jogging, swimming and biking. So after 2 1/2 years of training, I finished my first triathlon this summer, which I know would have been impossible without Zenapax. MRI's confirm the improved condition as some old brain lesions are now gone and previously-active ones are now dormant.

That's the good news. Here's the bad. The pharmaceutical firm that makes Zenapax has discontinued its production, as it was originally distributed for - and FDA-labeled for - kidney transplant patients. There have been recent FDA clinical trials that have tested a subcutaneous version (the version I received was through IV) for MS as regards efficacy and safety. The trial results have been quite positive. A more robust phase 3, multi-center trial is now under way that will assess if the medicine is efficacious for a broad population of people with relapsing - remitting MS. Unfortunately, the trial may not conclude until 2014, so the medicine may be in short supply (or not available at all). Talk to your doctor about seeing if you would be a good candidate for the phase 3 trial. It seems as if so much news and information about MS is discouraging and that so many treatments are of limited value when it comes to reclamation of capability. However, there are so many medicines (like Zenapax / Daclizumab) that may actually fulfill on the hope that physical renaissance is possible.