Aubagio: The New Pill Approved for Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Dr. Sharon Orrange
Dr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
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Many have been waiting for a pill for MS, and here it is. Injectables (Avonex, Betaseron, Copaxone and Rebif) are currently the mainstay of treatment for MS, so realize that most MS patients are currently injecting themselves once daily or once a week. Now, there may be a pill option. This month the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval of Aubagio (teriflunomide), a once-daily tablet for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Aubagio is an immunomodulator with anti-inflammatory properties. Although the exact mechanism of action for Aubagio is not fully understood, it helps reduce the number of lymphocytes (white blood cells) in the central nervous system.

Aubagio is approved for patients with the relapsing form of MS; these are patients who have flare-ups and then have almost complete recovery. Aubagio was approved because of promising studies that showed the use of Aubagio significantly reduced the relapse rate in MS patients and the time to disability progression.

So it’s a pill, not a shot, and what is also really great is that in these MS studies on Aubagio, the incidence of serious side effects was similar among Aubagio and placebo-treated patients.

Great news!

Dr O.

Aubagio is now available now from some pharmacies, in 7 mg and 14 mg strengths. It runs about $3750 for a one-month supply, and if covered by insurance, it will likely fall under Tier 2 or 3, meaning a moderate to highly monthly copay.

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