New Multiple Sclerosis Treatments Improve Patients' Lives

Botox is not just for wrinkles anymore. It's giving some MS patients more control.

Multiple Sclerosis attacks people in the prime of their lives, slowly robbing them of control of their muscles. But there are two new ways doctors are helping patients regain what they have lost.

"I've been trapped in an old person's body forever,” said MS patient Barbara Garcia. “I was 25 years old when I was diagnosed with MS."

Twenty years later, Garcia couldn't move without help. She had a narrowing in the jugular veins. She was one of the first MS patients to have a venoplasty.

Dye is injected into the jugular veins to locate the narrowed area. A balloon is then inserted into the vein and inflated to restore blood flow from the brain.

"She started showing improvement on the table,” said Bulent Arslan, Associate Professor of Radiology at the University of South Florida.

"After four hours of recovery, he said let's see if you can walk and, sure enough, I was able to get up and walk around the bed," said Garcia.

While MS patient Audrey Mirels does use a wheelchair at times, that wasn’t what bothered her. It was another side effect of MS that was holding her hostage.

"I was making the bathroom my world. I was going every two minutes," said Mirels.

Thousands of MS patients suffer from incontinence and overactive bladder. The first line of defense is oral medication, but if that doesn't work, the FDA has recently approved Botox.

"The Botox basically relaxes the spastic muscles' nature," said Farzeen Firoozi, Urologist at the Arthur Smith Institute for Urology in New Hyde Park, New York.

Patients receive 10 to 30 injections into the bladder wall. The Botox starts working within a week and lasts for up to nine months.

"I don't have to go to the bathroom that much, and I sleep through the night," said Mirels

A full night’s sleep and walking across the room on your own are two things that most of us take for granted.

While neither of these procedures are a cure, a majority of patients for both say that their lives were changed after the treatments.

BACKGROUND: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). More than 400,000 Americans suffer from MS. The disease is caused by damage to the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells, called the myelin sheath. When these nerve cells are damaged it causes nerve signals to slow down or stop completely. The nerve damage is usually caused by inflammation that occurs when the body's own immune cells attack the nervous system occurring in any area of the spinal cord, brain, and optic nerve. So far the cause of this disease is unknown, but commonly it is thought to happen because of either a virus or gene defect. People who have a family history of MS or live in an area where MS is more common might be more likely to develop this disease.
MS & SIDE EFFECTS: Many people, including those with Multiple Sclerosis, find that their bladder becomes troublesome at some point in their lives. The bladder has complex nerve controls which are easily disrupted. This can lead to an overactive or "unstable" bladder, which needs emptying very often and in a hurry. If a toilet is not reached in time, urge incontinence can result. Alternatively, nerve damage can mean that the bladder does not empty properly, leading to overflow incontinence and other possible bladder problems or a bladder which fluctuates between the two patterns. Current management of this condition includes medications to relax the bladder and use of a catheter to regularly empty the bladder. ( Source: Multiple Sclerosis Resource Center)

BOTOX FOR MORE THAN WRINKLES! The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Botox injection to treat urinary incontinence in people with neurologic conditions such as spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis who have over activity of the bladder. The treatment consists of Botox being injected into the bladder resulting in relaxation of the bladder, an increase in its storage capacity and a decrease in urinary incontinence. Injection of the bladder with Botox is performed using cystoscopy, a procedure that allows a doctor to visualize the interior of the bladder. The duration of the effect of Botox on urinary incontinence in patients with bladder over activity associated with a neurologic condition is up to 10 months. The effectiveness of Botox to treat this type of incontinence was demonstrated in two clinical studies involving 691 patients. The patients had urinary incontinence resulting from spinal cord injury or multiple sclerosis. Both studies showed statistically significant decreases in the weekly frequency of incontinence episodes in the Botox group compared with placebo. The most common adverse reactions observed following injection of Botox into the bladder were urinary tract infection and urinary retention. Those who develop urinary retention after Botox treatment may require self-catheterization to empty the bladder. (Source: fda.gov)

For More Information, Contact:

The Arthur Smith Institute for Urology
450 Lakeville Road
Lake Success, NY 11042,
516-734-8500 (phone)
516-734-8535 (fax)


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