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Patients dealing with MS excited about new drug

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BATON ROUGE - Tecfidera is already showing up in medicine cabinets despite the fact it was just approved by the FDA last week.

The drug is designed to reduce the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that disrupts the communication between the brain and other parts of the body.

Baton Rouge neurologist Dr. April Erwin says her patients are eager to try it out.

"This is a much-anticipated drug, so people have been following it through the pipeline ever since the clinical trials," she says.

Jamie Beemon and her friend Jennifer McGee are among those patients. Each have suffered from MS for more than ten years.

"I couldn't feel anything from the waist down. Occasionally I few times I lost my peripheral vision. All of my extremities would be really numb and tingly," says Beemon.

To deal with it, both women use the common treatment of injecting themselves with medication every day.

"I almost have to psyche myself to do it and there are days when I think I just don't want to have to give myself another shot," says McGee.

More than 2.1 million people around the world are suffering from MS, according to the Muscular Sclerosis Association. Until fairly recently, there were few options for them.

"We're going towards more of an oral MS market, which is a more convenient and less painful way to treat your MS," says Dr. Erwin.

Beemon and Mcgee are hoping their doctors will give them the okay to make the switch.

"I am going to make an appointment to speak to him about it and check the safety and risks and side effects and go from there," says McGee.

Most people experience their first symptoms of MS between the ages of 20 and 40.


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