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Mitoxantrone Treatment For Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Contact: (0191) 282 4443 or 282 5011 - Neurological Investigation Unit, Ward 11


IntroductionShow [+]Hide [-]

Mitoxantrone is a drug usually used in the treatment of certain types of cancer - it is a form of chemotherapy.

Why is it being given in MS?

Mitoxantrone has an effect on the cells of the immune system (T-cells) which are thought to be responsible in part for the inflammation that occurs in the nervous system of people with MS. Several trials have been performed treating people with active or progressive MS with the drug. In these studies the drug has shown to reduce both the activity of the disease (relapses, progression) and the development of new abnormalities on MRI scans.

Why am I being offered treatment with Mitoxantrone?Show [+]Hide [-]

When treating any medical condition we have to strike a balance between the risks associated with the disease and those of the treatment. Clearly Mitoxantrone does carry some risk and is not therefore being used routinely in the treatment of MS.  However, when MS is very active there is a risk of developing a significant disability.  For this reason we feel it is appropriate to offer treatment with drugs such as this.  Obviously, all measures will be taken to ensure that risks and harms are kept to a
minimum.

How is it given?Show [+]Hide [-]

It is an intravenous (IV) infusion, given the same way as IV steroids. It takes around one hour to give and is prescribed initially one a month. You will usually stay overnight in hospital for your first few infusions.

What are the side effects?Show [+]Hide [-]

No form of chemotherapy is free from side effects, however, Mitoxantrone is generally well tolerated. Most patients experience nausea for 1-2 days after the infusion, though this can be controlled by medication. Treatment can also cause mild hair loss and menstrual irregularities. Because of the potential serious effects on pregnancy adequate contraception is important.

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