Allegheny General Hospital Introduces New Treatment for Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis

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Allegheny General Hospital, part of Allegheny Health Network, is the first hospital in the western Pennsylvania region to offer Lemtrada, a new treatment for multiple sclerosis which is providing hope for patients who haven’t had success with other MS drugs.

Allegheny General Hospital

It’s wonderful to have a new option for patients with aggressive MS who have tried various medications and still haven’t achieved remission.

Physicians at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH), part of Allegheny Health Network, are offering a new treatment for patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS).AGH is the first hospital in the western Pennsylvania region to offer the treatment, which is providing new hope for patients who haven’t had success with other MS drugs.

FDA approved in fall of 2014, Lemtrada is an infusible medication designed to reduce flare ups in patients with relapsing MS and slow the progression of the disease.

“It’s wonderful to have a new option for patients with aggressive MS who have tried various medications and still haven’t achieved remission,” said Thomas Scott, MD, director of the Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Center at Allegheny General Hospital.

MS is a chronic disease that affects the nervous system by damaging myelin, the protective coating covering nerves. People with MS experience progressive deterioration of myelin which may result in pain, tingling or burning sensations, vision loss, mobility difficulties, muscle spasms or stiffness, difficulty with balance and speech and impaired memory and cognitive function.

There are approximately 400,000 people living with MS in the United States and more than 2.3 million are affected worldwide, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) is a monoclonal antibody that targets white blood cells that are thought to be responsible for the inflammatory process that damages myelin in MS. Lemtrada depletes these cells and it’s believed that the cells that regenerate following treatment will be less harmful to the nervous system.

Because this depletion of white blood cells can put patients at increased risk for developing infections and other autoimmune problems, Lemtrada is typically reserved for patients who have tried two or more other medications for MS without a successful response.

Lemtrada is administered in two annual treatment courses. The first course consists of intravenous infusion on five consecutive days. The second course is administered on three consecutive days, 12 months later.

Lemtrada is only available in the U.S. through certified prescribers, healthcare facilities and specialty pharmacies and to patients who are enrolled in a Lemtrada risk evaluation and mitigation program. The program is designed to educate healthcare providers and patients on risks associated with Lemtrada, including serious autoimmune conditions. Monthly monitoring and blood tests are provided to patients to support the detection of these risks for 48 months after the last infusion. The clinical development program for Lemtrada involved nearly 1,500 patients with more than 6,400 patient-years of safety follow up.

The Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Center at Allegheny General Hospital was established in 1992 and provides care for approximately 2,000 patients with MS each year, making it one of the largest MS programs in the United States.

The Center’s team of physicians, nurses, and ancillary staff collaborate with physical therapists and patient educators from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to provide patients with comprehensive care as well as access to the newest treatments and clinical trials designed to expand our knowledge of MS.

To make an appointment with the Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Center at AGH, please call 412.359.8850.

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Jennifer Davis
Allegheny Health Network
+1 (412) 330-4439
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