If you have multiple sclerosis (MS), a healthcare provider may prescribe Gilenya. This medication is unlike many other MS medications, as it comes in the form of a capsule rather than an injection. It is thought that this medicine works by decreasing the number of lymphocytes in the body. Some of the possible side effects include headaches, diarrhea, and back pain.
What Is Gilenya?
Gilenya™ (fingolimod) is a prescription medication approved to treat multiple sclerosis (MS). Unlike most MS medications that are taken by injection, Gilenya is taken by mouth.
This medication is made by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.
How Does Gilenya Work?
It is still unclear how exactly Gilenya works to treat MS. The drug is classified as a "sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor modulator." It binds to certain receptors in the body and prevents lymphocytes from leaving the lymph nodes. This decreases the number of lymphocytes in the bloodstream. A lymphocyte is a type of white blood cell that plays an important role in the immune system.
Effects of Gilenya
Clinical studies have shown that Gilenya decreases the relapse rate in people with MS, compared to a placebo (a "sugar pill" that does not contain any active ingredients). Studies have also shown that Gilenya decreases new (or newly enlarged) brain lesions, as seen with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Gilenya [package insert]. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation;2012 May.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) news release. FDA Drug Safety Communication: Revised recommendations for cardiovascular monitoring and use of multiple sclerosis drug Gilenya (fingolimod). May 14, 2012. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm303192.htm. Accessed May 28, 2012.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed November 5, 2010.
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