It could be one of the biggest developments in the search for an ALS cure in many years, and could provided sufferers with hope.
A new drug that could present a massive breakthrough in the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosos’s disease, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, has just been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA announced Friday that they were approving Radicava, or edaravone, for use in the United States.
This means that there are now only two drugs approved for treatment of ALS, the other being riluzole, which was approved back in 1995. Scientists in Japan found that ALS sufferers who received edaravone saw the decline of their daily functioning slow down compared to those on a placebo. The drug is produced by MT Pharma, which claims the drug slows the effects of ALS by 33 percent.
ALS is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, which cause the nerve cells to lose control of muscle movement. The end result of the disease is paralysis and death. It is often called Lou Gehrig’s disease after the famous baseball player who retired in 1939 because he had the condition.
“After learning about the use of edaravone to treat ALS in Japan, we rapidly engaged with the drug developer about filing a marketing application in the United States,” said Eric Bastings, M.D., deputy director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in an FDA statement. “This is the first new treatment approved by the FDA for ALS in many years, and we are pleased that people with ALS will now have an additional option.”