Novantrone is a drug that works by suppressing the immune system to lessen its attack on the myelin sheath that surrounds nerves. It can slow increases in disability and reduce the relapse rate in people with worsening forms of relapsing-remitting, progressive-relapsing, and secondary-progressive MS.
Novantrone also reduces the number of new lesions in the brain as seen on MRI.
Tysabri is approved as single therapy for the treatment of people with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) to reduce the frequency of flare-ups and delay progression of physical disability.
After the FDA initially approved Tysabri, the drug's manufacturer took the drug off the U.S. market due to reports of a rare, but serious brain infection called PML (progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy). But the drug returned to the market after the drugmaker included a risk-minimization program...
Education session. You will learn about pre-treatment and post-treatment medication to control nausea, when to get blood tests, and continuing treatment.
What Should my Doctor Know Before I Start Novantrone?
Before starting Novantrone, tell your doctor if you have any of the following conditions:
Infection (especially a viral infection such as chicken pox or herpes)
Recent radiation therapy*
Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
Unusual or unexpected bleeding
Have received chemotherapy*
Your neurologist will discuss the potential benefits and risks of Novantrone with you and your family. If you have any concerns or questions, discuss them with your doctor.
* Patients who have or have had heart disease or cancer treatment should not take Novantrone. Serious side affects could result. Your doctor should thoroughly check for warning signs before beginning your treatment with Novantrone.
What Can I Expect During Novantrone Treatment?
Plan to be at the treatment center about two hours to get Novantrone. During this time you will be given the drug through an IV drip. Wear comfortable, warm clothes.
Your nurse will check your blood pressure, pulse, and weight before treatment and will review your pre-treatment test results.
Bring something to occupy your time, such as a book.
What Can I Expect After Novantrone Treatment?
Because Novantrone suppresses your immune system (the body's system for fighting illness), you will have an increased risk of infection after treatment. It's important to avoid contact with people who are sick. You should avoid being vaccinated with a live vaccine while being treated with this drug. Neither you nor anyone in your household should take the oral polio vaccine.
Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:
Sore throat or cough
Sores on lips or in mouth
Shortness of breath
Painful or difficult urination
Uneven or rapid heartbeat
Swollen feet or ankles
Unusual bleeding or bruising
Pain, swelling, redness, or irritation at the injection site
What Are Other Side Effects of Novantrone?
In addition to the possible side effects listed above, other side effects that often go away as your body adjusts to Novantrone include:
A blue-green color of urine for 24 hours after receiving Novantrone.
Mild or moderate nausea.
Menstrual irregularities in women.
Hair loss that may be mild to moderate (hair will usually grow back after treatment is discontinued).