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Promising results for siponimod in treating secondary progressive MS

Promising results for siponimod in treating secondary progressive MS
12 September 2016
Some interesting news to share!
On 25 August 2016, pharmaceutical company Novartis announced that its experimental medication siponimod was able to reduce the risk of disability progression in people with secondary progressive MS (SPMS).
SPMS is a form of multiple sclerosis that often follows an initial period of relapsing remitting MS (RRMS). It involves gradual and relentless accumulation of disability often in the absence of ongoing relapses. Unlike RRMS which has various medications that can reduce the risk of damaging relapses, there are currently no treatments to stop the accumulation of disability in SPMS.

That’s why this announcement is so important.

Around 85% of people with MS are diagnosed with RRMS. Though it varies widely from person to person, on average, half of people with RRMS, will develop SPMS about 10 to 15 years after initial diagnosis.

SPMS can be hard to diagnose. Most neurologists will look for at least six months of clear progression before they use the term ‘secondary progressive’.

The MS Research Australia website has a more detailed article on this encouraging development, including information about the clinical trial (the biggest yet in SPMS) known as EXPAND - conducted at multiple global trial sites, including Australia. This trial tested the safety and efficacy of siponimod in people with SPMS and also looked at the way the drug works in the body. 

Early results show that there is a delay in the time to reach a three-month confirmed disability progression in people receiving siponimod, compared with those receiving placebo.

Novartis will present more trial result details at the September 2016 European Committee for Treatment and Research in MS (ECTRIMS) conference in London.

Before a full understanding of the potential of this new medication to treat SPMS is known, we need to await publication of the full trial results. But the early signs are promising. When the full trial results are out, MSA will publish a follow up piece and share an update via social media.

View the Novartis media release here

For further information on clinical trials and trials currently recruiting participants in Australia please visit

For more detailed information about siponimod please visit the MS Research Australia website and to learn more about their exciting work in tackling Progressive MS through the International Progressive MS Alliance.

With thanks to MS Research Australia as original information source