Hydroxychloroquine and MS
Hydroxychloroquine shows promise as a treatment for Multiple Sclerosis
by Chris Melore,(researcher & editor) | January 17, 2022
CALGARY, Alberta — Hydroxychloroquine may not be a reliable treatment for COVID-19, but a new study finds it may find a new job treating the worst form of multiple sclerosis (MS). Researchers from the University of Calgary found that the prescription drug can slow the worsening symptoms of primary progressive multiple sclerosis.
This form of the autoimmune disease is the least treatable version of a condition that affects around 200,000 Americans each year. MS causes the body’s own immune system to attack the protective coverings around the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Around 15 percent of cases are primary progressive MS, and patients with this version see their symptoms get progressively worse over time.
The new study tested hydroxychloroquine’s ability to slow the disease’s disabling effects over an 18-month study. Researchers followed 35 people with MS, keeping track of their progress from November 2016 to June 2021. The team expected at least 40 percent of these patients (14 people) to experience a significant decline in their ability to walk — even after the hydroxychloroquine treatments.
To their surprise, only eight participants saw their MS symptoms worsen.
“With primary progressive MS, there is no good treatment to stop or reverse the progression of disease. The disability progressively worsens through time,” says Dr. Marcus Koch, a clinician-investigator in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, in a university release.
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