Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

Font Size

New Pill May Reduce Relapses in MS Patients

Study Shows Teriflunomide Could Become a New Alternative to Injections
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Oct. 5, 2011 -- People with multiple sclerosis (MS) may soon have a second needle-free option to control their disease.

Last year, the FDA approved the first disease-modifying pill, a drug called Gilenya, to treat MS.

Now a new study shows that a different drug, a once-daily pill called teriflunomide, may also slow the progression of the neurological disease and its disabling attacks better than a placebo.

Currently, most of the disease-modifying drugs that treat MS are given by injection or intravenous infusion.

"Some patients have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for effective and safe oral medications," says researcher Jerry S. Wolinsky, MD, a professor of neurology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. Others with MS have been giving themselves regular injections for more than a decade.

"Their skin is just not holding up well. It's harder and harder for me to convince them to keep doing this because of the difficulties they have with these long-term injections," Wolinsky tells WebMD. For those reasons, he says, pills that work as effectively as the shots are "very important" options.

And drugmakers are racing to bring them to market.

In addition to teriflunomide, three other oral medications have been granted fast-track reviews by the FDA.

Testing a New Pill to Control MS

The new study, which is published in the New England Journal of Medicine, enrolled nearly 1,100 patients in 21 countries.

Ninety percent had the relapsing remitting form of MS -- an early stage of the disease. In this stage there are occasional flare-ups typically followed by partial or complete recovery of function.

The patients enrolled had at least two relapses in the previous two years, but no relapses in the two months before the study. Nearly 800 patients completed the two-year study.

The study found that teriflunomide reduced relapses in MS patients by 31% compared to a placebo. At the highest dose, the drug significantly reduced the number of treated patients who experienced worsening disability. It also reduced areas of active inflammation in the brain compared to placebo.

"People on the drug had fewer attacks," says researcher Paul O'Connor, MD, professor of neurology at the University of Toronto. "So what it meant to a patient is that if you were destined to have three attacks in one year, you would actually only have two."

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

nerve damage
Learn how this disease affects the nervous system.
woman applying lotion
Ideas on how to boost your mood and self-esteem.
woman pondering
Get personalized treatment options.
man with hand over eye
Be on the lookout for these symptoms.
brain scan
worried woman
neural fiber
white blood cells
sunlight in hands
marijuana plant
muscle spasm