October 13, 2017 (Medical News Today)
Clemastine fumarate, approved by the FDA in 1977, is an antihistamine medication for the treatment of allergies and is available for over the counter use. According to the lead investigator in this study, while this drug is not a cure for MS, it is the first time a drug has been able to “reverse deficits” that are caused by multiple sclerosis (MS).
To test Clemastine fumarate’s effects, researchers measured visual evoked potentials (VPEs) since the visual system is often the first to be affected by MS. This measurement is a good one for determining how fast nerves conduct messages.
For three months, 50% of participants were given Clemastine fumarate while the other 50% received placebo and then the two groups were switched. Neither researchers nor participants knew which group received the treatment. Results showed that the drug increased the speed of the neural signals for the eye to the back of the brain. This speed increased even after the drug was stopped.
These results suggest repair of myelin that is destroyed in MS patients and this offers hope for patients who suffer with the disease.
Published in The Lancet.