On Nov. 23, a patient taking Gilenya for treatment of multiple sclerosis has died, according to Novartis AG. Gilenya is one of the latest MS treatments and the first available in pill form to threat this neurological disorder.
It is still unclear what role, if any, Gilyena played in the death. According to Eric Althoff, the official spokesperson for Novartis, it is the first such incident reported within 24 hours of beginning treatment. In excess of 28,000 patients have been treated with the drug.
Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Tim Anderson informed investors it is too early to tell whether this incident will negatively affect the decision to prescribe the drug when considering treatments for MS. Gilenya use carries the possibility that the heart rate will slow after treatment begins. This is why monitoring by a physician is recommended when patients first start taking the drug. With this disease MS drugs often have possible side effects attached to them.
Details of the incident are under review by the Food and Drug Administration in the United State as well as other regulatory entities.