Scotland first in UK to approve ‘take at home’ MS drug

Source BBC: A new treatment for patients with multiple sclerosis has been approved by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC).

Zeposia has been developed for adult patients with relapsing-remitting MS, where the patient has flare-ups followed by periods of remission.

It is a treatment option which may reduce the need to have treatment administered in a clinical setting.

It is one of four drugs which have been newly-approved.

Ozanimod – Zeposia is manufactured by the company Bristol Myer Squibb. Taken orally once a day it provides the advantage of being taken at home and avoiding clinical appointments during the coronavirus pandemic. Read on.

Because we all care: unpaid carers

Carers (1)

Family carers have been taking on more responsibilities than ever during the pandemic. They are in a unique position to see what is going on, good and bad, with the health and social care provided to the person they are caring for.

Not surprisingly, they are also more likely to provide feedback on care experiences than the rest of the population.  The Care Quality Commission (CQC) would like to hear from anyone who is caring for a loved one about their experiences.  Find out more here.

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Vaccine Scams – beware and stay safe

Sadly there are some people out there who are out to take advantage of the vaccine roll out and there are a number of scams being operated.

One is a fake NHS text message telling people they’re eligible to apply for the COVID-19 vaccine. A link directs you to a fake NHS website that asks for your personal/bank details to ‘check your identity’. 

The NHS will not ask you to apply for the COVID-19 vaccine and there is no charge for it. When it’s your turn, we will contact you to book your appointment. For more on the COVID-19 vaccine visit and for more information about the different scams operating visit the Which? website by clicking here 

Vitamin D

This week the role of Vitamin D in the fight against Covid has been discussed again. You can read about it in The Guardian by clicking here.

The role of Vitamin D has become an area of interest for researchers looking for MS treatments. The MS Society has made testing the benefits of Vitamin D supplements as one of its top 10 research priorities.

For most people, the biggest source of vitamin D in the summer is the sun. In the winter, it is recommended that you should be more mindful about how much Vitamin D you get from your food. This year there is a greater emphasis – due to lockdown people are less likely to enjoy as much time outside.

You can find out more about Vitamin D and MS here:

MS Trust information about Vitamin D

MS Society information about Vitamin D

Unpaid carers and the Covid vaccine

It was announced that the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) has included unpaid carers on the vaccination priority list (UK wide) group 6. Carers will be in a group higher up the list due to age if they are over 65.

If you are a carer, please make sure you are registered as one at your doctor surgery.

For more information please visit the Carers UK website by clicking here 

Memory and MS

“I can’t seem to concentrate and lose my train of thought” Can you relate to this? Problems maintaining your concentration can be common for people with MS. This can make it hard to follow a good book, or a film. You may find situations with a lot of people difficult, or find that you lose track following a conversation. Concentration is involved in almost everything we do. It can affect how much we are able to enjoy TV shows or theatre trips. It can affect how well we can remember a message or conversation. It can affect how long we can work effectively on a household or employment task. Some tips and tricks to include your concentration include:

  • It’s easier to concentrate in short bursts and when you’re interested in the information.
  • Try to schedule important discussions at a time when you won’t be tired or fatigued, or arrange to have a rest beforehand.
  • If you know that your attention is poor, think carefully about adding distractions to your environment. For example, using a satnav or listening to the radio whilst driving might not be a good idea.

For more ideas on improving your concentration, take a look at the MS Trust Staying Smart resource

Potential new treatment for people with MS: what is the truth behind the headlines?

Source: MS Society

We have all welcomed the news of a Covid vaccine (well, most people anyway!). This last week you may have seen some headlines about how the science could use some of the science behind some of the vaccines to treat people with MS. But what is the truth behind the headlines?

The information below is taken from the MS Society website and the links will allow you to read all the MS Society and the MS Trust information on it. 

Note from BMSTC: Whilst all potential treatments bring hope, it is essential to stress the word potential. Sadly there are no guarantees and if successful, how long it would take. Read the full article here:… Read the MS Trust article here:… ‘New research suggests MS could be treated using mRNA, which has also been used to create two of the COVID-19 vaccines. We take a look behind the headlines to see what this could mean for people living with MS. We don’t yet know exactly what causes MS, so we don’t know how to prevent it. There’s currently no vaccine that can stop someone from developing MS, although there are steps you can take to lower your risk of developing the condition (like not smoking).  However, the science behind two of the COVID-19 vaccines may have potential as a way of treating MS.   

What was being tested? 

Most of us would usually think of a vaccine as something that stops you from getting ill. Normally, vaccines teach our immune systems to fight an invading molecule like a virus. But the new mRNA treatment tested in this study, which was published in the journal Science, is different.  

Unlike normal vaccines, this vaccine is not intended to prevent people from developing MS in the first place. Instead, it’s being tested as a potential treatment for people who already have MS.  

In MS, the immune system attacks the protective myelin coating around our nerves. In this study, researchers wanted to know whether a type of mRNA containing the code for part of myelin can be used to teach the immune system to not attack myelin. 

What does this mean for people with MS? 

In the last 25 years we’ve made huge progress in developing treatments to reduce the immune attacks associated with MS. However, the treatments that are currently available for MS target the immune system as a whole and not just the cells that damage myelin. This means there are side effects.  This is still very early-stage research and has only been tested in mice so far. Although this study has shown promising results, we don’t yet know whether this treatment would work in people with MS. We’d also still need to find ways to repair myelin that has already been damaged, and protect nerves from further degeneration. 

Dr Emma Gray, our Assistant Director of Research, said: “There are over 130,000 people living with MS in the UK, and many don’t have access to effective treatments. This research highlights an interesting new approach and it’s great to see interest in applying this new mRNA technology to treating MS. “However, it is still in the very early stages and has only been tested in animals. We’d be excited to see more research to understand if and how this could benefit people with MS.”’