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CCSVI and Multiple Sclerosis

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Should You Be Treated for CCSVI? continued...

In May 2012, the FDA released a statement warning people with MS about the risks of surgery used to treat CCSVI. The statement cautions that these procedures have not been FDA-approved or proven safe and effective for treating MS. 

"We need to stop this use of treatment when we don't know if it's useful or not," says Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD, professor of neurology at the University at Buffalo. He says endovascular surgery needs to be proven in carefully controlled studies before it can safely be used on people with MS.

 

The Future of CCSVI Research

So is CCSVI real? And can its treatment change the course for people with MS? The answer depends on which expert you ask.

"I think in many people's minds the issue has been sorted out," Fox says. He says his team is in the process of completing its studies, "but there does not seem like there is evidence in support of CCSVI. I think for many people this hypothesis of MS is winding down."

But Zivadinov says researchers who claim CCSVI doesn't exist are not interpreting the diagnostic criteria correctly. "Our studies are demonstrating that clearly there is this condition, and it's present in about 30% to 50% of the subjects," he says.

"Although this is a very controversial field, I am very certain that research should proceed," Zivadinov adds. He says it's important to keep studying CCSVI, to understand what it means for people with MS and other nervous system conditions.

Several studies are under way to learn more about CCSVI -- whether it is a real condition, and, if so, what its relationship to MS is. In Canada, a group of researchers is launching a study to investigate the safety and effectiveness of surgery on about 100 people with MS. What they and other research teams discover may answer many of the remaining questions about CCSVI and its treatment.

What You Can Do Today

It's natural to get excited about a new treatment that might improve MS. Yet our experts say it's important to be sure that any new treatment is well-tested in clinical trials to make sure it works, and it's safe, before trying it.

What can you do right now?

  • Learn as much as you can about MS.
  • Ask your doctor about new, well-researched treatments for MS.
  • Find out if any new treatments are being studied in clinical trials and whether you can participate.
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Reviewed on October 26, 2012

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