, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 483-502
Date: 29 Aug 2012

Oral Disease-Modifying Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) represents the prototypic inflammatory autoimmune disorder of the CNS. It is the most common cause of neurological disability in young adults and exhibits considerable clinical, radiological and pathological heterogeneity. Increased understanding of the immunopathological processes underlying this disease, advances in biotechnology and the development of powerful magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologies, together with improvements in clinical trial design, have led to a variety of valuable therapeutic approaches to MS.

Therapy for MS has changed dramatically over the past decade, yielding significant progress in the treatment of relapsing remitting and secondary progressive forms; however, most of the clinically relevant therapeutic approaches are not yet available as oral formulations. A substantial number of preliminary and pivotal reports have provided promising results for oral therapies, and various phase III clinical trials are currently being initiated or are already underway evaluating the efficacy of a variety of orally administered agents, including cladribine, teriflunomide, laquinimod, fingolimod and fumaric acid. It is hoped that these trials will advance the development of oral therapies for MS.