Fort Wayne patient first in state to receive new MS drug

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  A patient in Fort Wayne is the first in Indiana to receive a new treatment for multiple sclerosis since it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Beginning in 2004, Dr. Ajay Gupta and the Fort Wayne Neurological Center participated in a series of three clinical trials. Dr. Gupta found the protocol of five daily IV infusions of the drug Lemtrada, followed by three daily infusions one year later, successfully induced long-term remission in more than 20 trial patients. Each remains symptom-free today.

“This drug must be taken seriously,” said Dr. Gupta. “I call it the “Wall-Street effect” because it poses a high-risk, high-return opportunity. The patient must agree to five years of monthly blood and urine monitoring for potential side-effects, but the reward is significant and unprecedented – being free of MS relapses and progression.” The testing checks for thyroid disease and other serious autoimmune diseases that may result from the treatment. Dr. Gupta says once observed, these side-effects can be effectively managed.

Patient Deb Merritt was eager to try the treatment. “I didn’t have much to lose. And the benefits, if it worked, were gonna be amazing.”

Doctors say there are risks involved, and it’s too soon to know what the long-term side effects are.

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